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<The True 
Thomas Jefferson 



By 

William Eleroy Curtis 

Author of "The Capitals of Spanish America," "The United 
States and Foreign Powers," etc. 



" Our greatest happiness does not depend on 
the condition of life in which chance has placed 
us, but is always the result of good conscience, 
good health, occupation and freedom in all just 
pursuits." THOMAS JBFFBKSON 







Philadelphia &? London 

J. B. Lippincott Company 

1901 




SPfiECKELS 



COPYRIGHT, 1901 

BY 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 



ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA, U.S.A. 



The True Thomas Jefferson 



SECOND EDITION 



THE "TRUE" BIOGRAPHIES 



With twenty - four full - page illustrations 
portraits, appropriate views, and fac-similes 
in each volume. Crown 8vo. Cloth, extra. 
Per volume : Cloth, $2.00; half levant, #5.00 

THE TRUE GEORGE WASHINGTON 

BY PAUL LEICESTER FORD 

THE TRUE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

BY SYDNEY GEORGE FISHER 

THE TRUE WILLIAM PENN 

BY SYDNEY GEORGE FISHER 

THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

BY WILLIAM ELEROY CURTIS 

Cloth, $2.00, net 

" The house of Lippincott started the true 
portrait order of biography, in contradistinc 
tion to the garbled eulogy style of hero- 
chronicling, with Paul Leicester Ford s True 
George Washington. The next season Mr. 
Sydney George Fisher, favorably known as a 
writer on colonial history and on the making 
of Pennsylvania, was brought forward as the 
biographer of The True Benjamin Franklin. 
This was a year ago, and now comes The 
True William Penn from the same source, 
and certainly Mr. Fisher was well equipped 
for this task. William Penn s life is a first- 
rate romance from beginning to end." The 
Interior, Chicago. 




Copyright, 1897, by A. W. Elson & Co., Boston 

THOMAS JEFFERSON 
(Painted by Gilbert Stuart) 




TO 

HENRY WATTERSON 

A TRUE DEMOCRAT 
WHO BELIEVES, WITH 
JEFFERSON, THAT A 
MAN MUST SOMETIMES 
BE INCONSISTENT IF 
HE IS SINCERE 




Note 

THIS is not a formal biography. It is intended 
to be a series of sketches as graphic and as accu 
rate as possible, without partisanship or prejudice, 
of a remarkable man. Thomas Jefferson has been 
the subject of several able and distinguished biog 
raphers, friendly and unfriendly, for whom he left 
an abundance of material carefully arranged by 
his own hand. His writings, public and private, 
which are more voluminous than those of any other 
American statesman, have twice been published, and 
furnish direct evidence concerning his acts and 
opinions. His views upon public questions have 
been carefully arranged in alphabetical order in 
an Encyclopaedia, to which the student of his 
life and times may turn with satisfaction and con 
fidence. From these and many other original 
sources the information presented in this volume 
has been gathered and arranged in unconventional 
form in order that the reader may see the man 
as he actually was, and not as his partisans and 
opponents represent him. (The purppj_ofjhis life, 
which appears on almost everjrjgage, was to build 
a nation upon this continent with human freedom 
ancTequality as its f oundatJons. 1 In his efforts to 
accomplish this end he often incurred the criti- 

7 



NOTE 

cisms of his friends as well as the condemnation 
of his enemies. His faults were as conspicuous as 
his abilities, and to form a correct estimate of his 
character both should receive equal and honest 
consideration. 



In a personal letter to the author of this volume, 
who had requested of the Democratic editor some 
prefatory words, Henry Watterson says : " I do 
not like to see two names upon a title page. But 
I will say this: Though not a hero worshipper, I 
am too good a partisan to question my principal; 
and Jefferson has been not alone my file-leader, but 
a guiding star in my political firmament. I am used 
to measure all systems, to try all causes, to deter 
mine all policies, by the rules laid down in his 
philosophy. To me he stands out, after Washing 
ton and Franklin, the one clear figure in our early 
history, a perfect Doric column : wanting the bril 
liant levity of Hamilton; the sturdy, but narrow, 
spirit of Adams; sure-footed and far-seeing; not 
merely a statesman of the first order, but a very 
principal in the domain of original thinking and 
moral forces. The minor circumstances of his 
private life may interest me, but could in no wise 
change my perspective, because I am fixed in the 
belief that he was an upright and disinterested man, 
who considered his duty to his country before all 
else. Such inconsistencies as appear in his career 
are but proofs of this, since he never can wholly 
be true to his convictions, or potent for good in 

8 



NOTE 

affairs, who does not adapt himself to the changing 
exigencies of the times, suiting his actions to his 
words, his words to his actions, according to the 
course of events. I know of no vanity so illusory 
and mischievous as that emanating from the ordi 
nary yet heedless boast of consistency. No man 
is the same at five and forty he was at five and 
twenty. Nor does the world stand still. To apply 
principle to practice; to ally tradition with prog 
ress; to stand squarely upon one s feet, yet to 
see a little ahead; to refuse to bar the door to 
truth, though consistency fly out of the window; 
these are the lessons statesmen need most to 
learn if they would serve the State and survive the 
time; and Mr. Jefferson had studied all their ac 
tual requirements and marked all their moral les 
sons. More than this I care not to know." 



Contents 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. JEFFERSON S FAMILY 17 

II. JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 55 

III. JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 90 

IV. AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPEN- 

DENCE 119 

V. JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 140 

VI. THE EXPANSIONIST OF 1803 175 

VII. " JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY" 186 * 

VIII. JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 219 u 

IX. FOUNDER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 254 

X. JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 269 

XI. JEFFERSON S RELIGIOUS VIEWS 308 *". 

XII. JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 346 



zi 



List of Illustrations 

MM 

THOMAS JEFFERSON Frontispiece 

By Gilbert Stuart (usually considered the best portrait 
of Jefferson). From the original in Bowdoin College. 
By permission of A. W. Elson & Co., Boston. 

JEFFERSON S SEAL AND COAT-OF-ARMS 18 

" THE PINES" 24 

House in which Jefferson was married. 

FAC-SIMILZ OF JEFFERSON S MARRIAGE BOND 32 

MRS. MARTHA RANDOLPH, DAUGHTER OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 40 

From the original painting by Thomas Sully, in the pos 
session of Hon. T. Jefferson Coolidge, Boston. By per 
mission. 

PRINCIPAL BUILDING, WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE, WIL- 
LIAMSBURG, VA 57 

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren. 

THE ANCIENT STATE-HOUSE OF VIRGINIA AT WILLIAMS- 
BURG 59 

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren. From the painting 
by Elizabeth Dennison Williams, granddaughter of 
President Tyler. 

INTERIOR OF BRUTON PARISH CHURCH, WILLIAMSBURG 61 

MONTICELLO, THE HOMK OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 94 

Designed by himself. 

MONTICELLO GRAND SALON, LOOKING WEST 98 

By permission of Hon. Jefferson M. Levy, New York 
City, present owner of MoHticello. 

FAC-SIMILE OF JEFFERSON S INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING HIS 

MONUMENT 9 

13 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

THE COURT-HOUSE AT WILLIAMSBURG 122 

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren. 

THOMAS JEFFERSON 193 

The profile portrait by Gilbert Stuart, from the original 
in the possession of Hon. T. Jefferson Coolidge, Boston. 
By permission. 

FAC-SIMILE OF JEFFERSON S CODE OF ETIQUETTE 195 

From the original in Department of State, Washington. 

FAC-SIMILE OF PAGES FROM JEFFERSON s ACCOUNT-BOOKS . . . 209 

From the autograph volume in Lenox Library, New 
York City. 

MONTPELIER, THE HOME OF JAMES MADISON 22O 

APPROACH TO THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 254 

Designed by Thomas Jefferson 

RESIDENCE OF A PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 265 

Designed by Thomas Jefferson 

GLIMPSE OF DORMITORIES, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 267 

Designed by Thomas Jefferson 

FULL-LENGTH PORTRAIT OF JEFFERSON 337 

Painted by Thomas Sully. From the original at the 
United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. 
By permission. 

FAC-SIMILE OF PAGE FROM JEFFERSON S BIBLE 343 

From the original in Smithsonian Institution, Washing 
ton. 

FAC-SIMILE OF INDEX TO JEFFERSON S BIBLE 345 

From the original in Smithsonian Institution, Washing 
ton. 

JEFFERSON S POLYGRAPH 350 

In the possession of the University of Virginia. 

THE STATE CAPITOL AT RICHMOND 367 

Designed by Thomas Jefferson. 



A Jeffersonian Calendar 

Born April 13, N.S. 1743 

Father died 1757 

Entered college March, 1760 

Graduated April, 1762 

Admitted to bar 1767 

Elected to House of Burgesses 1769 

Married January, 1772 

Elected to Continental Congress March, 1775 

Attends Virginia Assembly October, 1776 

Elected Governor of Virginia June i, 1779 

Reflected June i, 1780 

Resigned June i, 1781 

Elected delegate to Congress November, 1781 

Mrs. Jefferson died September, 1782 

Elected delegate to Congress June, 1783 

Minister to France May, 1784 

Appointed Secretary of State September, 1789 

Leaves France October, 1789 

Resigns as Secretary of State December, 1793 

Elected Vice-President November, 1796 

Nominated for President May, 1800 

Elected President February 17, 1801 

Inaugurated March 4, 1801 

Louisiana Treaty signed May 2, 1803 

Louisiana Treaty ratified October 20, 1803 

Reflected President November, 1804 

Retires from Presidency March 4, 1809 

University of Virginia established 1818 

Writes last letter June 25, 1826 

Died July 4,1826 




The True 
Thomas Jefferson 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 



JEFFERSON came honestly by his red jiair. his 
tenacity of purpose^ which in lesser men is some 
times called stubbornness, and his_love of __con- 
troversy. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a 
Welshman, whose family is said to have come 
to the colonies at an early date from the foot of 
Snowden, the highest mountain in Great Britain. 
He knew nothing of them, although he sometimes 
boasted that the first of the name in Virginia was 
a member of the Assembly of 1619, the first legis 
lative body that ever convened on the western 
continent; but he was never able to prove rela 
tionship. His mother was of a good Scotch fam 
ily of wealth and influence. Her name was Jane, 
and her father was Isham Randolph, one of the 
richest tobacco lords in Virginia. Peter Jefferson 
was a surveyor, like Washington, and both at 
tained social position through marriage. Thomas 
Jefferson used to sneer at the long pedigree of his 
mother s family and to boast that his father came 
from the soil, but, nevertheless, in 1771 he wrote 
to Thomas Adams, his agent in London, " to search 
the herald s office for the arms of my family. I 
have what I am told are the family arms, but 
17 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

on what authority I know not. It is possible there 
may be none. If so, I would, with your assistance 
become a purchaser, having Sterne s word for it 
that a coat of arms may be purchased as cheap as 
any other coat." 

The result of that inquiry is not alluded to in 
his writings or records, but appears frequently at 
Monticello, even upon the fence that encloses his 
tomb. According to Colonel B. Lewis Blackford, 
of Washington, an authority on Virginian her 
aldry, the Jefferson coat-of-arms is a shield, bear 
ing upon the " chief" or upper third three leopards 
faces in silver upon a ground of red, or " gu," 
as the heralds write it. The lower part of the shield 
is blue fretted with gold. This combination is 
unusual and appears in only one other heraldic 
achievement, that of the Earl of Spencer. The 
crest is the head of a talbot, or mastiff, " erased" 
or broken off roughly, leaving the base with an 
uneven line. The head is " eared" and " langed 
gu," which in heraldry means that the ears, mouth, 
and tongue are red. 

The motto is " Ab eo Liber fas a quo Spiritus" 

Jefferson used an engraved seal in his private 
correspondence which bore a monogram of the ini 
tials of his name, " T. J.," surrounded by the 
motto in English, " Rebellion to Tyrants is Obe 
dience to God." 

Since his death President Jefferson s descend 
ants have traced the family line with great satis 
faction. The first Jefferson mentioned in the 
histories of Virginia bore the name of John, and 
is said to have been one of a commission of three 
sent over from England to look into the affairs 
of the colony. He arrived in 1619 in the ship 
Bonahora. He was made a burgess the same year. 
In 1626 he secured a patent for two hundred and 

18 




^ 



JEFFERSON S SEAL 




JEFFERSON S COAT-OK-ARMS 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

fifty acres of land at Archer s Hope, and was in 
Farolay s Council at Jamestown, representing 
Flower de Hundred. His son, Thomas Jefferson, 
of Henrico, married Mary Branch, and died in 
1697. Their son, Captain Thomas Jefferson, of 
Osborne, Henrico County (born 1679, died 1715), 
married Mary Field in 1698. Their son, Peter 
Jefferson, was the father of Thomas Jefferson, of 
Monticello. 

The following memoranda were written by 
Thomas Jefferson in a Prayer-Book that belonged 
to Peter Jefferson : 



" Births, marriages and deaths of Peter and Jane Jefferson 
and their children : 

BIRTHS. MARRIAGES DEATHS. 



Peter Jefferson. 
Jane Randolph 
Jane Jefferson . , 
Mary " . 

Thomas " . 

Elizabeth " . 

Martha " . 

Peter Field " . 

A son , 

Lucy " ., 

Randolph " . 

Anna Scott " . 



1707/8, Feb. zgth. 
1720, Feb. gth. 

1740, June 27th. 

1741, Oct. i st. 

1743, Apr. 2nd. 

1744, Nov. 4th. 
1746, May 2gth. 
1748, Oct. i6th. 
1750, Mar. gth. 
1752, Oct. loth. 

1755, Oct. ist. 



1739 



1760, Jan. 24. 
1772, Jan. ist. 



1765, July 20. 



1769, Sept. 12. 
1788, Oct. 



1759, Aug. 17. 
1776, Mar. 31. 
1765, Oct. i. 

1826, July 4. 
at 12.50 P.M. 
1773, Jan. i. 

1748, Nov. 29. 
1750, Mar. 9. 



1828, July 8." 



" Births and deaths of John and Martha Wayles, father 
and mother of Martha Jefferson wife of Thomas Jefferson. 

" Martha Eppes, born Apr. loth, 1712, at Bermuda Hun 
dred; intermarried Oct. 28th, 1742 with Lewellyn Epes He 
died Sept. nth, 1743. 

"John Wayles, born at Lancaster, England, Jan. 3ist, 
1715 intermarried with Martha Eppes, May 3rd, 1746 
Died May 28th, 1773. 

" Their daughter Martha Wayles, born Oct. 3ist, 1748 
The mother died Nov. 5th, 1748. 

" Martha Wayles married Bathurst Skelton, Nov. 2oth, 
1766, he died Sept. 30th, 1768. Their child, John Skelton, 
born 1767, Nov. 7th, died June loth, 1771. Thomas Jeffer 
son and Martha Wayles intermarried Jan. ist, 1772." 

19 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

The deaths must have been added by " J. H. R.," 
his granddaughter, as Jefferson could not have 
entered his own death or that of Anna Scott in 
1828. 

Isham Randolph was a man of affairs and con 
siderable eminence in the Virginia colony, and his 
name was associated with much that is good and 
wise. He was a student of natural history in a 
small way and from him Jefferson inherited his 
love of plants and flowers. We get a miniature 
portrait of him in a quaint letter written by Peter 
Collinson, of London, to Bertrand, the botanist, 
who was about to visit Virginia to study the 
flora: 

" When thee proceeds home, I know no person 
who will make thee more welcome than Isham 
Randolph. One thing I must desire of thee, and 
do insist that thee must oblige me therein; that 
thou make up that drugget clothes, to go to 
Virginia in, and not appear to disgrace thyself 
or me; for though I would not esteem thee the 
less to come to me in what dress thou wilt, yet 
these Virginians are a very gentle, well dressed 
people, and look, perhaps more at a man s outside 
than his inside. For these and other reasons, pray 
go very clean, neat, and handsomely dressed to 
Virginia." 

Peter Jefferson was twenty-eight and Jane Ran 
dolph was seventeen years of age when she prom 
ised to marry him, and, with her love and promise, 
he rode a hundred miles into the wilderness and 
bought a thousand acres of land on the banks of 
a stream then known as the River Anna. The 
name has since been shortened to Rivanna in local 
parlance. For two years he worked in the forest, 
cleared a few fields, built a cabin, and, when it 
was prepared to receive her, in 1738, he returned 

90 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

to Dungeness, her father s estate, for his bride. 
Five years later April 13, 1743 their third child 
was born, and they called him Thomas. 

As he could find no site upon his own farm 
suitable for a permanent residence, Peter Jefferson 
persuaded his most intimate friend, William Ran 
dolph, who owned twenty-four hundred acres ad 
joining, to give him a sightly spot on the banks 
of the Rivanna, and the deed, still in possession 
of the family, shows that the price of the property 
was " Henry Weatherbourne s biggest bowl of 
arrack punch." By the intermarriage of their 
grandchildren the farms of Peter Jefferson and 
William Randolph ultimately became the property 
of Thomas Jefferson s daughter. 

According to the fashion of the time, Peter Jef 
ferson called his estate " Shadwell" as a compli 
ment to his wife, for that was the name of the 
London parish in which she was born. William 
Randolph called his " Edgehill" in memory of the 
battle between the Cavaliers and Roundheads. 

Peter Jefferson was famous for his great stature 
and physical strength. It is said that he could 
lift two hogsheads of tobacco one with either 
arm, and stories of his endurance are still told 
about the Virginia firesides. He had an inclination 
to literature, although, judged by the present stand 
ard, he was an uneducated man. Several volumes 
of Swift, the sermons of Dr. Doddridge, a full 
set of The Spectator, and a fine edition of Shake 
speare constituted his library, and the books, which 
are still preserved, show much usage. When his 
son was six years old Peter Jefferson was appointed 
a commissioner to survey the boundary line be 
tween Virginia and North Carolina, and two years 
later, in connection with Joshua Fry, professor of 
mathematics in William and Mary College, he 

21 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

made the first map of Virginia, excepting the rough 
sketch by Captain John Smith of 1609. He was 
a good manager, exact and conscientious in all 
of his transactions, and grew in wealth and repu 
tation until he became the most influential man in 
the community and master of the largest estate. 
He was a vestryman of his parish, a strict adherent 
to the creed and ritual of the Church of England, 
and regarded the works of Dr. Doddridge as 
" more precious than gold ; the best legacy I can 
leave my children." Dying in 1757, when he was 
but fifty years old and his son Thomas was four 
teen, he left instructions for the latter s education, 
and especially enjoined upon the widow not to 
permit him to neglect " the exercise requisite for 
his bodie s developement." This strong man knew 
the value of strength, and used to say that a person 
of weak body could not have an independent mind. 
Jefferson s father-had a great influencejover him. 
Of his mother we know very little. He~"spoke of 
his father frequently during his long life, always 
with pride and veneration, but does not seem to 
have had equal confidence in his mother, for in 
one of his letters he says, " At fourteen years of 
age the whole care and direction of myself was 
thrown on myself entirely, withput a relative or 
friend qualified to advise or guide me." His 
mother s name appears but seldom in his volumi 
nous writings. He never refers to her in his 
letters to his children, nor quotes her as he quotes 
his father; and one of the few references to her 
is found in his little pocket account-book, while 
he was at Philadelphia as a member of the first 
Congress : 



"March 31, 1776. My mother died about eight o clock 
this morning in the 57th year of her age." 

22 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

His sister Jane, the eldest and the pride of the 
family, he refers to frequently with respect and 
affection. Her mind seems to have been sympa 
thetic and her tastes similar to his, and she un 
doubtedly had a marked influence upon the for 
mation of his character. She was his confidante 
and companion, and used to play accompaniments 
upon the harpsichord to his violin. He tells us 
that " Jane greatly excelled in singing the few 
fine old Psalm tunes which then constituted the 
musical repertoire of the Protestant world." It 
has been said that only five tunes were sung, in 
the churches of Virginia for a century. Jane died 
in 1765, while Jefferson was studying law at Wil- 
liamsburg, and her death was a keen blow to him. 
The tenderness with which he cherished her mem 
ory to the last days of his long and eventful career 
shows what a deep impression she made upon his 
youthful mind. Among his manuscripts after his 
death was found this Latin inscription, evidently 
intended for her epitaph : 

"Ah, Joanna puellarum optima 
Ah asvi virentis flore praerepta 

Sit tibi terra Isevis 
Longe, longeque valeto." 

When Jefferson became of age, in April, 1764, 
he was the richest, the most highly educated, and 
in every respect the most conspicuous young man 
in Albemarle County. In accordance with a ven 
erable custom he celebrated the event by planting 
an avenue of trees in front of his mother s house, 
and several of them, locusts and sycamores, are 
still standing after an interval of one hundred and 
thirty-six years. He immediately recognized and 
assumed the responsibilities of his position, and 
within a few months was elected to two of his 

23 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

father s offices, which seem to have been hereditary, 
justice of the peace and vestryman of the par 
ish. One of his contemporaries tells us that! he 
was a fresh, bright, healthy-looking youth, with 
large feet and hands, red hair, freckled skin so 
tender that it blistered and peeled off after ex 
posure to the wind or sun, hazel-gray eyes, promi 
nent cheek-bones, and a heavy chin. His form 
" was as straight as a gun-barrel, sinewy and 
alert/ and he cultivated his strength " by famil 
iarity with saddle, gun, canoe, and minuet.J He 
Dearly showed an aversion to parade and ceremony, 
was scrupulously exact in matters of business, 
" preferred to wait upon himself rather than to 
receive the attentions of servants," showed perfect 
self-reliance, and had a strong taste for mathe 
matics and mechanics. We are told that he was 
an inquisitive youth, and that when he discovered 
a neighbor or a stranger doing something he did 
not understand, he asked questions and observed 
the proceedings until his curiosity was fully grati 
fied, and then usually made notes of his observa 
tions in a memorandum-book. His inquisitiveness 
was proverbial in the neighborhood, and a woman 
writing from Williamsburg in 1769 remarked that 
she " never knew anyone to ask so many questions 
I as Thomas Jefferson." He writes of himself that 
; the passions of his soul were music, mathematics, 
and architecture, and the traditions of his violin 
playing are numerous and amusing. When chil 
dren we read in the school-books the anecdote of 
the old negro slave who notified him that his 
mother s house had been destroyed, but his fiddle 
had been saved. We know that he used to play 
violin duets with Patrick Henry, with his sister 
Jane, and with the pretty Widow Skelton, who 
afterwards became his*wife. His biographers as- 

24 

V- 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

sure us that he was a fine performer upon the king 
of musical instruments, but grandmothers in Vir 
ginia, who heard the truth from the preceding 
generation, tell us the contrary, and quote an early 
authority as saying that Patrick Henry was the 
worst fiddler in the colony with the exception of 
Thomas Jefferson. 

The first John Tyler, who was Governor of 
Virginia and father of President Tyler, was at 
one time a room-mate of Patrick Henry, and a 
tradition of the family is that Jefferson used to 
bring his violin and play with them; and in ad 
miration of Mr. Tyler s fiddling he exclaimed one 
day, 

" Oh, John, if I only had your bow arm !" 
John Randolph (not he of Roanoke, but the son 
of Sir John, the king s attorney-general) had a 
precious violin which he had bought in Italy. It 
was the one thing in all the world that Jefferson 
coveted most, and he did not relax his persistence 
until he had persuaded the owner to draw up an 
agreement in legal form, signed, sealed, and wit 
nessed by George Wythe, Patrick Henry, and five 
others, and duly recorded in the general court at 
Williamsburg to this effect : 

" It is agreed between John Randolph and Thomas Jef 
ferson, that in case the said John shall survive the said 
Thomas, the executors of the said Thomas shall deliver 
to the said John the value of Eighty Pounds Sterling of 
the books of the said Thomas, the same to be chosen by the 
said John, and in case the said Thomas shall survive the 
said John, the executors of the said John shall deliver to the 
said Thomas the violin which the said John brought with 
him into Virginia, together with all his music composed for 
the violin." 

To everybody but Jefferson this unique contract 
was a joke, but he was so lacking in the sense of 
humor and so earnest in his desire to possess the 

25 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

instrument that he toolkit seriously, and added 
a codicil to his will, which, with characteristic 
exactness, he had written as soon as he became 
of age, providing for the fulfilment of the com 
pact by his executors, and bequeathing a hundred 
pounds to " the said John as evidence of my re 
spect and affection." 

But Jefferson was not compelled to wait so long 
as he expected. When the revolutionary spirit 
became violent John Randolph, who held an office 
under the king and had made himself offensive 
to the colonists in the performance of his duties 
as attorney-general, found it to his comfort and 
advantage to return to England. Before going 
he sold the violin to Jefferson for thirteen pounds, 
in August, 1775. From that day Jefferson car 
ried the instrument with him wherever he went, 
practised upon it in Philadelphia while he was 
attending his duties as a member of Congress and 
Secretary, of State, took it to France when he 
went as minister, and occasionally played an old- 
fashioned air upon it while he was President. 

He never lost his love for music. He had an 
opportunity to cultivate his taste while in Europe, 
and enjoyed a personal acquaintance with the great 
musicians of that period. After his retirement in 
1809 he wrote one of them : " If there is a grati 
fication which I envy any people in this world, 
it is to your country (France) for its music. This 
is the favorite passion of my soul, and fortune has 
cast my lot in a country where it is in a state of 
deplorable barbarism." 

Notwithstanding his serious disposition, Jeffer 
son was fond of gossip, the man as well as the boy. 
He kept up a voluminous correspondence to the end 
of his days with friends in Paris, and, although 
he did not see some of them for forty years, re- 

26 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

tained his interest in their affairs and showed an 
affectionate solicitude for their welfare. And he 
was sometimes pleased to be gay. He paid com 
pliments with the skill of a courtier, but there are 
only two glimpses of humor in all his correspond 
ence. One of them is an anecdote of Arthur 
Lee, who, he says, was a most " disputatious" 
man and " always contradicted everybody." Once 
when a gentleman observed in his hearing that it 
was a very cloudy day, Lee retorted, " It is cloudy, 
sir; but not very cloudy." 

\While he was minister to France a lady in the 
United States had the courage to commission Jef 
ferson to buy her a pair of corsets, but failed to 
send the dimensions^ He exercised his best judg 
ment and sent them with a playful letter : " Should 
they be too small," he says, " you will be good 
enough to lay them by a while. There are ebbs 
as well as flows in this world. When the moun 
tain refused to come to Mahomet, he went to the 
mountain." 

Even while President, overwhelmed with the 
cares and perplexities of his office, he gossiped 
continually through the mails with his daughters 
in Virginia, giving and receiving items of per 
sonal interest concerning the people he met and 
the friends they knew, and he was as eager as a 
school-girl to receive a budget of news from home. 

" If there is any news stirring in town or 
county," he wrote, " let me know it." And again 
he begged of his daughter to " write me all the 
small news, who marry and who hang themselves 
because they cannot marry." His letters to his 
children and grandchildren are full of admonition, 
but bubble over with love and treat of the lightest 
and most trivial domestic topics. One wonders 
how a man of Jefferson s serious nature and over- 

27 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

whelming cares could find time to discuss with 
a child the dates upon which the first arbutus is 
found in the spring upon the hill-side, the first 
appearance of the hyacinth, and the number of 
buds upon a favorite rose-bush. Between those 
lines are serious references to political affairs, com 
ments upon events in Europe and America, newly 
discovered interests, and the progress of science. 
Listen to his gossip with his daughter even while 
he was President : " A person here has invented 
the prettiest improvement in the forte-piano I have 
ever seen. It has tempted me to engage one for 
Monticello; partly for its excellence and conveni 
ence, partly to assist a very ingenious, modest and 
poor young man. There is really no business which 
ought to keep us one fortnight. I am therefore 
looking forward with anticipation of joy of seeing 
you again ere long. Politics are such a torment 
that I would advise every one I love not to mix 
with them. Kiss all the dear little ones for me. 
Do not let Ellen forget me." 

The great statesman was not above the art of 
playing upon the credulity of his grandchildren. 
He wrote one of them that if she injured a mock 
ing-bird or its nest she would always be haunted 
by its ghost. He told another to take good care 
of her silkworms, because she could never get mar 
ried until they had spun enough silk for her 
wedding-gown. While President of the United 
States he writes his daughter : " I sincerely con 
gratulate you upon the arrival of the mocking-bird. 
Learn all the children to venerate it as a superior 
being in the form of a bird, or as a being which 
will haunt them if any harm is done to itsdf or 
its eggs. We had peaches and Indian corn the 
1 2th instant. When did they begin with you? 

Jefferson was an ardent and sentimental lover, 
28 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

and his egotism appears in his love-affairs in a 
most amusing way. He adored several young 
women from time to time; such behavior is not 
uncommon among men of his youth; and to one 
of them, Belinda, when about twenty, he con 
fessed his love, but explained that he could not posi 
tively engage himself to marry anyone for the pres 
ent because it would interfere with his studies and 
his plans for a trip to Europe; he intimated that 
it might be profitable for her to await his pleasure 
and convenience, as he expected sooner or later 
to renew his suit openly. We do not know what 
Belinda said in reply to this extraordinary propo 
sition, but she evidently did not estimate the value 
of his affections so highly, for she promptly mar 
ried another. Sometimes he refers to her in his 
diaries and letters as Bee-lin-day, or as " Campana- 
in-die" (bell in day) ; then he writes her name 
in Greek, and often spells it backward, Adnileb. 
He took her marriage rather hard. " Last night," 
he writes one of his confidants, " as merry, as 
agreeable a company and dancing with Belinda in 
the Appollo could make me, I never thought the 
succeeding sun would have seen me so wretched 
as I am." 

He was soon consoled by the attractions of a 
young woman named Rebecca Burwell, some 
think that she and Belinda are the same person. 
He writes to John Page, one of his classmates, 
saying : " Write me everything that happened at 
the wedding. Was she (Rebecca Burwell) there? 
because if she was I ought to be at the devil for 
not being there too. If there is any news stirring 
in the town or country such as deaths, courtships 
or marriages in the circle of my acquaintance let 
me know it." 

Again he writes : " What have you done since 
29 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

I saw you? What can I do but ask you the news 
of the world? How did Nancy look when you 
danced with her at Southall s? Have you any 
glimmering of hope? How does R. B. (Rebecca 
Burwell) do? Had I better stay here and do 
nothing or go down and do less ? Inclination tells 
me to go, receive my sentence and be no longer 
in suspense, but reason says if you go, and if your 
attempt proves unsuccessful you will be ten times 
more wretched than before;" and to another 
friend : 

" Dear Will, I have thought of the cleverest 
plan of life that can be imagined. You exchange 
your land for Edgehill and I mine for Fairfields. 
You marry S. P. and I marry R. B., join and get 
a pole chair, and a keen pair of horses, practice 
law in the same court and drive about to all the 
dames in the country together. How do you like 
it?" 

He built a " full-rigged flat," as he termed it, 
on the river, and named it " The Rebecca," but 
she jilted him before it was launched, and there 
is no further reference to the enterprise. Rebecca 
Burwell married Jacquelin Ambler, who afterwards 
became State treasurer and was called " The Aris- 
tides of Virginia," because he was just ; and John 
Marshall, Chief-Justice of the United States, mar 
ried their daughter. It is a curious coincidence 
that his brother, Edward Ambler, married Miss 
Gary, who rejected Washington. 

It came within the power of Jefferson to do 
friendly service for the husband of his former 
sweetheart on several occasions, and when her 
father, who at the time of her marriage was one 
of the richest and proudest men in Virginia, be 
came impoverished in his old age, it is said that 
Jefferson secured for him an appointment as tip 
staff in one of the courts. 
30 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

There were others also. Patsy Dandridge, Betsy 
Page, and two or three other young ladies are 
frequently referred to in his youthful correspond 
ence as objects of admiration, but there is no evi 
dence that they were more than friends. Miss 
Molly Elliott Seawell says that a fly-leaf of an 
old book in the library of the late Boswell Seawell, 
of Gloucester County, Virginia, contains the fol 
lowing inscription said to be in the handwriting 
of Jefferson : 

"Jane Nelson is a neat girl 
Betsy Page is a sweet girl 
Rebecca Burwell is the devil. 
If not the devil, she s one of his imps." 

Among Jefferson s associates at the Williams- 
burg bar was John Wayles, a lawyer of large prac 
tice who had a fine estate on the edge of the town 
called " The Forest," a dozen plantations, large 
tracts of wild land in various parts of the colony, 
and over four hundred slaves. His widowed 
daughter, Martha Skelton, a famous beauty fond 
of admiration and music, lived with him, and Jef 
ferson was in the habit of taking his violin out 
to " The Forest" of an evening to play duets with 
her. Their acquaintance extended over three or 
four years. She was a widow in 1768. He first 
mentions his love for her in 1770, and they were 
married on New Year s Day, 1772. He left a 
number of letters concerning his courtship of 
the pretty widow with the pretty fortune which 
indicate that he was scarcely off with an old love 
before he was on with the new, and had consider 
able vexation in adjusting his conduct to the 
satisfaction of his own conscience. The story goes 
that he was spurred into an engagement with Mar 
tha Skelton by the rivalry of two friends, with 

3 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

whom he came to an understanding that they 
should draw cuts for the first proposal. If the first 
were rejected, he was to retire and give the next 
a chance, and if number two were not accepted, 
the third was at liberty to propose. Jefferson drew 
number one and started for the Wayles plantation. 
His rivals followed him and hung over the hedge, 
listening to the music as he played duets with his 
inamorata. They concluded from the joyful tones 
of his instrument that his wooing was successful 
and walked home disconsolate. 

The license-bond for the marriage required by 
the laws of Virginia was written in Jefferson s own 
hand, and is signed by him with Francis Eppes, 
a neighbor, whose son afterwards married Jeffer 
son s daughter, as surety. He must have been a 
little nervous or absent-minded at the time, for 
he described his bride as " a spinster." Somebody 
corrected the mistake by running a pen through 
" spinster" and writing the word " widow" over 
it; but Jefferson was not so agitated that he neg 
lected to set down in his account-book every item 
of expenditure in connection with his wedding. 
We find that he " loaned Mrs. Skelton ten shil 
lings" two days before the ceremony; paid forty 
shillings for the marriage-license ; gave five pounds 
to the Reverend Mr. Coutts, the minister who mar 
ried them; and then borrowed twenty shillings 
from the parson before the close of the day. He 
gave ten shillings to the fiddler, and five shillings 
to each of the servants of the household. 

On one of the early days in January the newly 
married pair started in a two-horse chaise from 
The Forest" for Monticello, their future abode, 
more than a hundred miles distant. 

^ The mansion was half built when Jefferson took 
his bride home. They drove from Williamsburg, 

32 




UN 

CALir 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

a distance of at least one hundred miles, and ar 
rived in the midst of a fearful blizzard. He tells 
in his diary that the snow was more than two feet 
deep in the road, and that his horse had a des 
perate struggle to haul them through. They spent 
their first night in a little brick house that is still 
standing, attached to the slave quarters, and lived 
there until the mansion was habitable. 

About a year after his marriage the death of 
his father-in-law brought him forty thousand acres 
of land and one hundred and thirty-five slaves. 
The Natural Bridge, eighty miles from Monticello, 
was included in the property, and Jefferson, who 
considered it one of the greatest wonders in the 
world, planned to build there a hermitage to which 
he could retire in seclusion at will for rest and 
study. He speaks of his wife s father in these 
terms : " Mr. Wayles was a lawyer of much prac 
tice to which he was introduced more by his in 
dustry, punctuality and practical readiness, than 
by eminence in the science of his profession. He 
was a most agreeable companion, full of pleasantry 
and humor, and welcomed in every society. He 
acquired a handsome fortune, and died in May, 
1773, leaving three daughters. The fortune which 
came on that event to Mrs. Jefferson, after the 
debts were paid, which was very considerable, was 
about equal to my own patrimony, and consequently 
doubled the ease of our circumstances." 

Although everything that concerned her has an 
interest, we know very little about Mrs. Jefferson, 
except that she was a jealous woman, because on 
her deathbed she exacted from her husband a prom 
ise that he would never remarry. Edward Bacon, 
the manager of the plantation, tells the story in 
these words : " When Mrs. Jefferson died, Mr. 
Jefferson sat by her, and she gave him directions 
3 33 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

about a good many things that she wanted done. 
When she came to the children she wept, and could 
not speak for some time. Finally she held up her 
hand, and spreading out her four fingers she told 
him that she could not die happy if she thought 
her four children were ever to have a step-mother 
brought in over them. Holding her other hand in 
his, Mr. Jefferson promised her solemnly that he 
would never be married again. And he never 
did." 

Visitors to Monticello have described her as 
" a beautiful woman, her countenance brilliant 
with color and expression, luxuriant auburn hair, 
somewhat tall, of a very graceful figure, but too 
delicate for the wear and tear of this troublesome 
world. She has an educated mind and a taste for 
higher literature. Her skill in playing the harpsi 
chord and her voice in singing are said to be re 
markable." She had six children, all of them girls. 
The first child, Martha, and the fourth, Mary, 
alone survived infancy. Years after her death 
six of the women-slaves of the house enjoyed 
an honorable distinction at Monticello as " the 
servants who were in the room when Mrs. Jeffer 
son died." 

Jefferson declined an appointment from Con 
gress as commissioner to France with Dr. Franklin 
and Silas Deane in October, 1776, because of his 
wife s health. He kept the messenger waiting 
several days before he could make up his mind 
to reject a mission that promised so much honor, 
usefulness, and pleasure, but Mrs. Jefferson was 
too ill to go with him, and his anxiety was so great 
that he would not leave her. 

After his death there were found in a drawer 
in his room among other souvenirs three little 
packages containing locks of the hair of his de- 

34 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

ceased wife, his daughter, Mrs. Eppes, and an in 
fant child he had lost. In his own handwriting 
the latter was marked " A lock of our first Lucy s 
hair with some of my dear wife s writing," and 
it contained a few strands of silken hair evidently 
taken from the head of a very young infant. An 
other, marked simply " Lucy," contained a beauti 
ful golden curl. He wrote the following epitaph 
for his wife s tomb : 

" To the memory of Martha Jefferson, 

Daughter of John Wayles, 
Born October igth, 1748 O. S. ; 

Intermarried with Thomas Jefferson January ist, 1772; 
Torn from him by death September 6th, 1782: 

" If in the melancholy shades below, 
The flames of friends and lovers cease to glow, 
Yet mine shall sacred last ; mine undecayed 
Burn on through death and animate my shade." 

These four lines appear in Greek in the original. 

The death of his wife was a shocking blow to 
Jefferson. She was a congenial companion, and 
not only sympathized with his political and intel 
lectual tastes, but possessed sagacity and social 
attractions which furnished a powerful reinforce 
ment for his ability and skill. It was many years 
after her death before Monticello recovered its 
gayety, but when his daughters grew up he re 
turned to social life, and according to the gossips 
the widower was the hero of several love-affairs, 
although he never again seriously contemplated 
marriage. At one time, according to local tradi 
tions, he was challenged to fight a duel concerning 
a lady in the neighborhood, but declined to do so 
because her jealous husband was of inferior social 
standing. 

Jefferson s tenderness and solicitude for his two 
little motherless girls was the most beautiful trait 

35 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

of his character. No one who has ever loved a 
child can read his correspondence with them with 
out emotion. Every sentence reveals the depth 
of his affection, and his anxiety that they should 
be good and wise appears in every letter. " Good 
ness," he says, " is the greatest treasure of human 
beings. If you love me strive to be good under 
every situation and to all living creatures, and to 
acquire those accomplishments which I have put 
into your power." The more you learn, the more 
I love you," he said at another time, " and I rest 
the happiness of my life on seeing you beloved 
by all the world, which you will sure to be if to 
a good heart, you join the accomplishments so 
pleasing in your sex;" and it was a little unusual 
for a father whose mind was absorbed in such 
serious thoughts as appear in the Declaration of 
Independence, to write to a little girl on July I, 
1776, " Remember not to go out without your 
bonnet, because it will make you very ugly and 
then we shall not love you so much." Again he 
writes : " If ever you are about to say anything 
amiss, or to do anything wrong, consider before 
hand. You will feel something within you which 
will tell you it is wrong and ought not to be said 
or done. This is your conscience and be sure and 
obey it. Our Maker has given us all this faithful 
internal monitor, and if you always obey it you 
will always be prepared for the end of the world, 
or for a much more certain event which is death. 
This must happen to us all. It puts an end to the 
world as to us, and the way to be ready for it is 
never to do a wrong act." 

A short time after Mrs. Jefferson s death, Con 
gress for the third time appointed him an envoy 
to assist Franklin and Adams in negotiating peace, 
and he was at liberty to accept. He left Mary, or 

36 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

" Polly," as he called her, his youngest child, with 
her aunt, Mrs. Eppes, in Virginia, and took Mar 
tha, then in her eleventh year, to the school of 
Mrs. Hopkinson in Philadelphia, where she re 
mained until she sailed with him to Europe. One 
of his letters to Martha, or " Patsy," was among 
the most precious autographs in the celebrated col 
lection of Queen Victoria, and was frequently shown 
by her to Americans who were entertained at 
Windsor Castle. Aaron Vail, the charge d affaires 
of the United States at the Court of St. James, 
was commanded by Queen Victoria to procure 
for her an autograph of the great American states 
man. He transmitted the request to Mrs. Ran 
dolph, who sent the Queen of England the follow 
ing characteristic letter written to herself in 1783 : 

" MY DEAR PATSY : The acquirements which I hope you 
will make under the tutors I have provided for you will 
render you more worthy of my love. With respect to the 
distribution of your time, the following is what I should 
approve : 

From 8 to 10, practice music. 

From 10 to I dance one day and draw another. 

From i to 2 draw on the day you dance and write a 
letter next day. 

From 3 to 4 read French. 

From 4 to 5 exercise yourself in music. 

From 5 till bedtime read English, write, etc. 

I expect you to write me by every post. Inform me 
what books you read, what tunes you learn and enclose me 
your best copy of every lesson in drawing. Take care that 
you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a 
word, consider how it is spelt, and if you do not remember 
it, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady 
to spell well. I place my happiness on seeing you good 
and accomplished." 

Jefferson was always preaching industry to his 
children. " Learn" and " Labor" were his con 
stant admonitions. He says : " It is your future 
happiness which interests me, and nothing can 
contribute more to it (moral rectitude always ex- 

37 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

cepted) than the contracting a habit of industry 
and activity. Of all the cankers of human happi 
ness none corrodes with so silent, yet so baneful 
an influence as indolence. Body and mind, both 
unemployed, one becomes a burthen, and every 
object about us loathsome, even the dearest. Idle 
ness begets ennui, ennui the hypochondriac, and 
that a diseased body. No laborious person was 
ever yet hysterical. Exercise and application pro 
duce order in our affairs, health of body and cheer 
fulness of mind, and these make us precious to our 
friends." :< Walking is the best possible exercise," 
he said. " Habituate yourself to walking very far. 
There is no habit you will value so much as that 
of walking." 

" Patsy," afterwards Mrs. Randolph, was placed 
in a convent near Paris to be educated. Her father 
visited her frequently, and continued his corre 
spondence, writing almost every day. He says in 
one of his letters : " If at any moment, my dear, 
you catch yourself in idleness, start from it as you 
would from the precipice of a gulf. You are not 
however to consider yourself unemployed while 
taking exercise. That is necessary for your health, 
and health is the first of all objects. For this rea 
son, if you leave your dancing master for the sum 
mer you must increase your other exercise. No 
body in this world can make me so happy or so 
miserable as you. Retirement from public life 
will ere long become necessary for me. To your 
sister and yourself I look to render the evening 
of my life serene and contented. Its morning has 
been crowded by loss after loss, till I have nothing 
left but you." 

When he became convinced that his stay in Paris 
was likely to be prolonged he sent for " Polly," 
and wrote Mrs. Eppes the most exacting and de- 

38 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

tailed instructions as to the preparations and ar 
rangements for her voyage. Among other curious 
ideas, she was to be sent upon a ship that had 
made at least one voyage, but was not more than 
five years old. " I think it would be found," he 
wrote, " that all the vessels which are lost are 
either lost on their first voyage or else after they 
are five years old." Mr. Eppes discovered such a 
vessel as Jefferson wanted, and " Polly," with her 
colored " mammy," was sent in care of the cap 
tain to Mrs. John Adams, who was then in Lon 
don with her husband. She kept the child for 
several weeks until she found an opportunity and 
a proper escort to Paris and became very much 
attached to her, describing her as a child of re 
markable beauty, vivacity, and intelligence. In 
the meantime Jefferson writes to Patsy, the oldest 
sister : " Our dear Polly will certainly come to 
us this summer. She will become a precious charge 
on your hands. Teach her above all things to be 
good, because without that we can neither be 
valued by others nor set any value on ourselves. 
Teach her always to be true; no vice is so mean 
as the want of truth; and at the same time so 
useless. Teach her never to be angry; anger 
only serves to torment ourselves, to divert others, 
and alienate their esteem. And teach her industry 
and application to useful pursuits. A mind always 
employed is always happy. This is the true secret, 
the grand recipe for felicity. The idle are the 
only wretched." 

" Patsy" was a very impressionable child, and 
became so alarmed because of her obligations to 
a sinful world that she decided to become a nun. 
Her father was naturally startled when he received 
a tearful request for permission to take the veil, 
but he acted with great tact. He did not reply 

39 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

to the note. He sent for her to come to the lega 
tion in Paris, where, without waiting to complete 
her education, he immediately introduced her, a 
girl of seventeen, into the brilliant scenes of the 
court of Louis XVI. , where she soon forgot her 
pious plans. Years afterwards Mrs. Randolph 
told this incident to her children, and said that 
no allusion to the subject \vas ever made either by 
her father or herself. 

Martha Jefferson was a very accomplished 
woman, speaking several languages, being a fine 
musician, and having a highly cultivated mind. 
Few American women at that day enjoyed her 
educational advantages. John Randolph of Roan- 
oke, that irrepressible enthusiast, who was no re 
lation to her husband, once toasted her as " the 
noblest woman in Virginia." Neither she nor her 
sister attended Jefferson when he went to Wash 
ington to become President, and they spent very 
little time at the White House, although the hus 
bands of both were members of the House of 
Representatives during his administration. Mrs. 
Eppes was in poor health, and Mrs. Randolph had 
the responsibility of eleven children upon her 
mind, which did not permit long absences from 
home. During the winter of 1802-3, and again 
in the winter of 1805-6, she spent several months 
in Washington, and her accomplishments and the 
grace and dignity with which she presided at the 
White House are frequently alluded to by letter- 
writers of that period. She was especially gifted 
as a musician. Her taste and talent had been de 
veloped under the instruction of the best teachers 
in Paris. Mrs. Eppes died in 1803, the second 
year of Jefferson s Presidency. In the absence 
of his daughters Jefferson was assisted in perform 
ing the social duties of his office by Mrs. Madison, 

40 




MRS. MARTHA RANDOLPH, DAUGHTER OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 
(Painted by Thomas Sully) 



OF THE 

UNSV; :TY 




irOBH^. 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

wife of the Secretary of State, and her sister, Miss 
Payne, who afterwards married Dr. Cutts. 

In February, 1790, Martha married her second 
cousin, Thomas Mann Randolph, the great-grand 
son of Isham Randolph, who was also her great 
grandfather. The wedding took place at Monti- 
cello with great ceremony just before Jefferson 
started for New York to assume the office of Sec 
retary of State. The groom was practically 
brought up in the family. He was with them for 
two years in Paris and completed his education 
under Jefferson s direction at the University of 
Edinburgh. He was handsome, wealthy, popular, 
and of aristocratic tendencies; an able politician, 
a useful member of Congress, and left an excellent 
record as Governor of Virginia; but he was a 
spendthrift and inclined to convivial habits. He 
spent money rapidly but made none, and lived 
upon the principal of his estates, selling a slave or 
a piece of land, an ox or a horse, whenever he 
needed money. 

Jefferson s overseer, Edward Bacon, gossips 
about him freely in his reminiscences. " I often 
loaned him money," he says, " and he often applied 
to me to help him raise it from others. When he 
must have it and could get it no other way, he 
would sell one of his negroes. Here is a charac 
teristic note signed by Randolph: 

" DEAR SIR : It is absolutely necessary to me to have as 
much as $150 by tomorrow evening, to send by express to 
pay into the Bank of U. S. and Bank of Virginia in Rich 
mond, before three o clock on Wednesday next, that I am 
forced, against my will, to importune you farther with the 
offer of the little girl at Edgehill." 

" I raised the money for him," continued Bacon, 
" and the next day paid him two hundred dollars 
for Edy. She was a little girl four years old. He 

41 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

was finally unable to meet his obligations, failed 
completely, and lost everything. Mr. Jefferson, 
in making his will, had to take especial care to 
prevent Mr. Randolph s creditors from getting 
what property he left to Mrs. Randolph. Before 
he died his mind became shattered and he pretty 
much lost his reason. He had no control of his 
temper. I have seen him cane his son Jeff, after 
he was a grown man. Jeff, made no resistance, 
but got away from him as soon as he could. I 
have seen him knock down his son-in-law, Charles 
I. Bankhead, with an iron poker. Bankhead mar 
ried his daughter Anne. She was a Jefferson in 
temper. He was the son of a very wealthy man 
who lived near Fredericksburg. Bankhead was a 
fine-looking man, but a terrible drunkard. I have 
seen him ride his horse into the barroom at Char- 
lottesville and get a drink of liquor. I have seen 
his wife run from him when he was drunk and hide 
in a potato-hole to get out of danger." 

Jefferson describes his son-in-law in different 
terms from those used by his overseer, and says 
that he was " a man of science, sense, virtue and 
competent/ which shows how differently people 
and things look from opposite points of view. 
Thomas Mann Randolph served in Congress from 
1803 to 1807, and during the latter part of Jeffer 
son s Presidency he resented an attack of John 
Randolph of Roanoke with such vigor as to pro 
voke a challenge for a duel, which the President 
is supposed to have prevented. The circumstances 
are related in another chapter. He fought in the 
War of 1812 as a colonel of infantry. In 1819 he 
was elected Governor of Virginia and served two 
terms with an excellent record. His death, Bacon 
says, was due to exposure while riding in a storm, 
" his generosity having prompted him to give his 

42 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

cloak to a poor person he found ill clothed on the 
highway." 

Bacon, who speaks so frankly of the family in 
his " Reminiscences/ was a great admirer of Mrs. 
Randolph. He says she was the best woman he 
ever knew. " Few such women ever lived. I 
never saw her equal. I was with Mr. Jefferson 
twenty years and I never saw her out of temper. 
I can truly say that I never saw two such persons 
in this respect as she and her father. I have rode 
over the plantation, I reckon, a thousand times 
with Mr. Jefferson, and when he was not talking 
he was nearly always humming some tune or sing 
ing in a low tone to himself. And it was just so 
with Mrs. Randolph. I have never seen her at 
all disturbed by any amount of care and trouble." 

After she was driven from Monticello Mrs. Ran 
dolph remained in Charlottesville for a time and 
then went to the home of her daughter, Mrs. 
Joseph Coolidge, in Boston. She made a claim 
upon the government for twelve hundred dollars 
alleged to be due to the estate of Thomas Jefferson, 
but it was not allowed. She prepared to open a 
school to earn her living, when she was presented 
with a purse of twenty thousand dollars by the 
Legislatures of North Carolina and Louisiana. 
Upon this slender capital she settled in Washing 
ton in 1829 and lived there quietly until her death 
in 1836. 

Mrs. Randolph had six daughters and five sons, 
Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin 
Franklin, Meriwether Lewis, George Wythe, 
Anne, Ellen, Virginia, Cornelia, and Septimia. 
Anne married the Mr. Bankhead alluded to by 
Bacon in such unfavorable terms; Ellen married 
Joseph Coolidge, of Boston, and was the mother of 
Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, the millionaire manu- 

43 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

facturer and diplomatist, one of the most emi 
nent and influential citizens of New England; 
Virginia married Nicholas P. Trist ; Septimia mar 
ried Dr. Meikleham, of Scotland; Cornelia and 
Mary died unmarried; Thomas Jefferson married 
Jane, the daughter of Governor N. C. Nicholas, 
of Virginia, and his daughter, Miss C. R. Ran 
dolph, owns the old family seat, " Edgehill," near 
Charlottesville, Virginia, where she still resides. 
Meriwether Lewis married Elizabeth Martin, of 
Tennessee ; George Wythe married Mary Pope, of 
Virginia; James Madison and Benjamin Franklin 
died in early manhood, unmarried. 

Thomas Jefferson Randolph, the favorite grand 
son, was educated by Jefferson at Philadelphia. 
There is a little glimpse of paternal pride and af 
fection in a letter written to Dr. Wistar, of Phila 
delphia, in whose charge " Jeff." was placed while 
he was pursuing his studies in natural science. On 
his way through Washington, he stopped at the 
White House with his grandfather for several 
days. The President of the United States ex 
amined the contents of his trunk, made out a list 
of articles that he needed, and gave him the money 
to purchase them when he arrived at his destination. 
" Jeff." relieved Bacon as manager of the estate at 
Monticello, and continued in charge of affairs until 
after Jefferson s death, when he settled the estate 
and paid the creditors what was lacking out of his 
own pocket to save the family honor. He was also 
the literary executor of his grandfather, edited his 
correspondence, and took charge of his manu 
scripts. 

At his grandfather s request he entered politics 
and served in the Legislature of Virginia for more 
than twenty years. In 1832 he introduced a bill 
to abolish slavery on the plan so often suggested 

44 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

by Jefferson, that slave children born after a certain 
date should be free. In 1842 he was the author 
of a bill and the chairman of a committee to reform 
the finances of the State, which at that time were 
in great confusion. He performed the duty with 
great ability and judgment, and afterwards wrote 
a book entitled " Sixty Years Reminiscences of the 
Currency of the United States." He was a mem 
ber of the convention that revised the Constitution 
of Virginia in 1851-2. He was a Visitor of the 
State University for thirty-one years, and Rector 
of that institution for seven years. He went into 
the Confederacy and held the military rank of 
colonel during the Civil War, although he saw very 
little service. From his great-grandfather, Peter 
Jefferson, he inherited enormous stature and physi 
cal strength as well as integrity of purpose. When 
over eighty years of age he presided at the Balti 
more Convention which nominated Horace Greeley 
as Democratic candidate for the Presidency, and 
died in 1875 at the age of eighty-six. 

Mary Jefferson, or " Polly," as she was always 
alluded to in her father s letters, married her 
cousin, John Wayles Eppes, familiarly known as 
" Jack," who, like the other son-in-law, was 
brought up in Jefferson s family and was very dear 
to him. His manners were frank and engaging, 
he was highly educated, and particularly pleasing 
in conversation, while his character was in every 
way worthy of the high opinion that Jefferson fre 
quently expresses concerning him. He and his 
bride were children together, and at seventeen she 
promised to be his wife. The Duke de la Roche 
foucauld, who visited Monticello in 1796, gives us 
a pretty picture of this maiden and her lover. 
" Miss Maria," he calls her, " constantly resides 
with her father ; but as she is seventeen years old 

45 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

and remarkably handsome, she will doubtless soon 
find that there are duties which it is sweeter to 
perform than those of a daughter." She must 
have been of lovely character, for while she was 
lying ill and shortly before her death Jefferson 
wrote her from Philadelphia : " You have never 
by word or deed given me a moment s uneasiness. 
On the contrary I have felt a perpetual gratitude 
to Heaven for having given me in you a source 
of so much pure and unmixed happiness. Go on 
then, my dear, as you have done, deserving the love 
of everybody." 

" Jack" Eppes served five terms in Congress and 
was elected to the United States Senate, but after 
two years in that body he was compelled to resign 
on account of ill-health and died shortly after. 

Jefferson s only other relative living at this time 
was a sister, Anne, married to a poor farmer by 
the name of Marks, who lived down in the lower 
part of the State. For a period of thirty years 
Jefferson never failed to send a carriage to bring 
her to Monticello to spend the hot months of the 
summer, and after her husband s death gave her a 
home there. In his will was found this touching 
remembrance : "I recommend to my daughter, 
Martha Randolph, the maintenance and care of my 
well beloved sister Anne Scott, and trust confi 
dently that from affection for her as well as for 
my sake, she will never let her want for comfort." 
It is needless to say that this trust was faithfully 
fulfilled, and when Mrs. Randolph left Monticello, 
the same roof that sheltered her, sheltered her 
aunt. 

When Jefferson returned to his home at the close 
of his Presidency he found himself bankrupt, and 
the soil of his farm practically exhausted because 
of improper cultivation. The cares of the estate 

46 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

being too great a burden for him at his advanced 
age, he gladly handed them over to his grandson, 
" Jeff." Randolph, who until the day of his death 
interposed himself so far as possible between his 
grandfather and the financial ruin which the cir 
cumstances made unavoidable. Jefferson was too 
sanguine to realize the depth of his embarrass 
ments. He was not an improvident man; he had 
habits of order and economy, and his exactness 
in keeping his accounts was extraordinary; but 
the salaries of the various offices he held seldom 
paid the expenses incidental to his position. As 
minister to France and as President he was con 
stantly exceeding his income. Shortly before the 
expiration of his Presidential term he wrote to a 
friend that he had already expended seven or eight 
thousand dollars of his private funds for the ex 
penses of the White House. 

He was the soul of hospitality and was con 
tinually imposed upon. One of his granddaughters 
has written a description of the daily life at Mon- 
ticello which suggests the drain upon his resources. 
She says that his " visitors came of all nations at 
all times, and paid longer or shorter visits. I have 
known a New England judge to bring a letter of 
introduction to my grandfather, and stay three 
weeks. The learned Abbe Correa, always a wel 
come guest, passed some weeks of each year with 
us during the whole time of his stay in the country. 
We had persons from abroad, from all the states 
of the union, from every part of the state, men, 
women and children. In short, almost every day, 
for at least eight months in the year, brought its 
contingent of guests. People of wealth, fashion, 
men in office, professional men, military and civil, 
lawyers, doctors, Protestant clergymen, Catholic 
priests, members of Congress, foreign ministers, 

47 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

missionaries, Indian agents, tourists, travellers, 
artists, strangers, friends. Some came from af 
fection and respect, some from curiosity, some to 
give or receive advice or instruction, some from 
idleness, some because others set the example, and 
very varied, amusing and agreeable was the society 
afforded fyy this influx of guests." 

Bacon says : " He knew that it more than used 
up all his income from the plantation and every 
thing else, but he was so kind and polite that he re 
ceived all his visitors with a smile, and made them 
welcome. They pretended to come out of respect 
and regard for him, but I think that the fact that 
they saved a tavern bill had a good deal to do with 
it with a good many of them. They ate him out of 
house and home. They were there at all times of 
the year; but about the middle of June the travel 
would commence from the lower part of the state 
to the springs and then there would be a perfect 
throng of visitors." 

When Jefferson was finally convinced of his 
hopeless bankruptcy he decided upon a sacrifice 
which none but his own family, who witnessed 
the struggle it cost him, could ever fully appreciate. 
This was the offer of his library to the govern 
ment at whatever price Congress should decide 
to be just. Next to his children he loved his 
books, and in letters written at this time he be 
moans in pitiful language the distress of mind 
which their sale cost him. 

Congress was not liberal. The value of the 
collection which Jefferson had been fifty years in 
making was admitted; his financial necessities 
were well understood, and it was repeatedly stated, 
to his mortification, that he was making this sacri 
fice to protect his financial honor. It was also 
repeatedly explained that Jefferson s debts were 

4 8 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

due solely to the fact that he had neglected his 
private interests in the performance of his public 
duties; but none of these arguments had any in 
fluence upon Congress, which drove a sharp bar 
gain for the books, and finally paid twenty-three 
thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars, a sum 
estimated to be about one-half of their auction/ 
value. 

The money was paid to Jefferson s creditors. 
The drafts on the United States Treasury simply 
passed through his hands, and it was but a drop 
in the bucket. His grandson was his endorser 
for fifty-eight thousand five hundred and thirty- 
six dollars, and a commission merchant in Char- 
lottesville was his debtor to about half that amount. 
Just at the time when his grandson was endeav 
oring to secure an honorable settlement, Jeffer 
son s affairs were still further complicated by the 
failure of one of his personal friends for whom 
he had endorsed heavily, ex-Governor Wilson C. 
Nicholas, whose daughter Thomas Jefferson Ran 
dolph married. This added to the total of his 
liabilities, but the same result must have ensued 
had it not occurred. It is gratifying to know that 
Jefferson s relations with his unfortunate friend 
were not in the least disturbed, and that the latter 
by the sale of land was able to cancel more than 
half of his indebtedness. The extent of Mr. Jef 
ferson s liabilities may be judged by the fact that 
after his death it was found that his debts exceeded 
his assets by about forty thousand dollars, and to 
the honor of his family every dollar was finally 
paid by Thomas Jefferson Randolph, the executor 
of his estate. 

Jefferson had not recovered from the distress 
of mind and mortification due to the sale of his 
library when he yielded to the advice of his friends 

4 49 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

and again made himself an object of reproach as 
well as of charity. He applied to the Legislature 
of Virginia for permission to dispose of Monti- 
cello by lottery, which, he wrote his friend, J. C. 
Cabell, then a member of the Legislature, " may 
pay my debts and leave a living for myself in 
my old age and leave something for my family." 
He drew up a paper under the title of " Thoughts 
on Lotteries" for presentation to the Legislature. 
It contained a review of various precedents, an 
argument to prove that there could be nothing 
immoral in such a disposition of his estate, a state 
ment of his own necessities, and a review of the 
sixty-one years he had spent in the public ser 
vice. He says, " Every one knows how inevitably 
a Virginia estate goes to ruin when the owner 
is so far distant as to be unable to pay atten 
tion to it himself; and the more especially when 
the line of his employment is of a character to 
abstract and alienate his mind entirely from the 
knowledge necessary to good and even to saving 
management." 

Great as the mortification was to Jefferson, it 
was suffered without result. The Legislature de 
clined to grant his request, and he was attacked in 
the most vicious manner from every direction. 
An attempt was made to secure the passage of a 
bill to loan him eighty thousand dollars from the 
State Treasury. That was defeated also. But Jef 
ferson was not without friends. Public meetings 
were held throughout the State in his behalf, peti 
tions and memorials were addressed to the Legis 
lature, and contributions came from other States 
and cities, but none from Virginia. Philip Hone, 
Mayor of New York, raised eight thousand five 
hundred dollars; five thousand dollars was sent 
from Philadelphia; three thousand from Balti- 

50 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

more, and after his death the Legislatures of South 
Carolina and Louisiana each made an appropriation 
of ten thousand dollars for the benefit of his only 
surviving daughter, Mrs. Randolph, who was left 
entirely destitute ; but not a dollar was contributed 
by the State nor by any individual in Virginia, 
so far as appears in the records. Six months after 
his death the furniture, the china, and the decora 
tions of Monticello were advertised for sale at 
public auction. The only daughter of the father 
of the Democratic party was compelled to go forth 
into the world penniless, and never crossed the 
threshold of her old home again. 

In the spring of 1826 Jefferson was attacked 
with diarrhoea, to which he had been subject for 
several years, and, as he grew weaker, he realized 
that his end was near. He spoke freely of his 
approaching death with all the members of his 
family and the servants ; spent a certain time each 
day with his grandson, giving directions in regard 
to his private affairs, and with Madison concerning - 
the management of the University. During the 
night of the second of July he was overcome with 
what his doctor calls a stupor, but about seven 
o clock on the evening of the third, as Dr. Dun- 
glison, one of the professors in the University, 
entered his room, he seemed to recover conscious 
ness, and remarked, 

" Oh, doctor, are you still there?" Then he 
asked, " Is this the fourth?" 

Those were his last words. From that time he ^~ 
was unconscious, and about one o clock on the 
fourth of July he passed away. It is an interest 
ing historical coincidence that his life-long friend, 
John Adams, died at Quincy, Massachusetts, at 
almost exactly the same hour. 

On his marriage, in 1772, Jefferson received, 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

as his wife s dower, property which was valued 
at forty thousand dollars, but with a British debt 
on it of thirteen thousand dollars. He sold land to 
pay this debt, and the Virginia Legislature having 
passed a resolution to the effect that the State 
would protect whoever would deposit in the State 
Treasury the amount of their British debts, he de 
posited the proceeds in the Treasury. This resolu 
tion was afterwards rescinded, and the money was 
returned in Treasury certificates. The deprecia 
tion was so great, that the value of those received 
by Jefferson was laid out in an overcoat; so that 
in after years, when riding by the farm which he 
had sold to procure the thirteen thousand dollars 
deposited in the State Treasury, he would smile 
and say, " I sold that farm for an overcoat." 

Jefferson s will was written in his own hand. 
He divided his property as fairly as possible be 
tween Francis, the son of his deceased daughter, 
Mary Eppes, and his surviving daughter, Martha. 
Her share, including Monticello, was placed in 
control of trustees with every possible restriction 
to keep it from the creditors of her husband. He 
gave James Madison his favorite gold-mounted 
walking-stick " as a token of the cordial and af 
fectionate friendship, which for half a century 
has united us in the same principles and pursuits 
of what we have deemed for the greatest good of 
our country." He gave his library to the Univer 
sity of Virginia with the condition that the dupli 
cates were to be divided between Joseph Coolidge 
and Nicholas C. Trist, who married his grand 
daughters. To Thomas Jefferson Randolph he left 
all his papers and records, which were found to 
be carefully filed away in proper order, and his 
silver watch " instead of the gold one, because of 
its superior excellence." To each of his other 

52 



JEFFERSON S FAMILY 

grandchildren he gave a gold watch, and to his 
household servants their freedom, under conditions 
that are described in another chapter. 

The funeral services were simple and impressive 
according to his explicit directions, and Dorsey, 
the gardener, dug a grave beside that of Dabney 
Carr, the friend of his boyhood. " Choose some 
unfrequented vale," he said, in giving directions 
for the family cemetery, " in a park where there 
is no sound to break the stillness but a brook that 
bubbling, winds among the woods, no mark of 
human shape that has been there, unless the skele 
ton of some poor wretch who sought that place 
out to despair and die in. Let it be among ancient 
and venerable oaks, interspersed by some gloomy 
evergreens. Appropriate one half to the use of 
my family, the other to strangers, servants etc. 
Let the exit look upon a small and distant part 
of the Blue Mountains." 

Thomas Jefferson Randolph erected a monument 
in this little cemetery the year after his grand 
father s death; it was chipped away by relic hun 
ters, and in 1851 was replaced by another of the 
same pattern, paid for by the professors of the 
University. During the Civil War this was carried 
off in small bits in the pockets of visitors. The 
estate was allowed to fall into decay, and there was 
no stone left that was not broken or defaced, while 
the whole burial-ground was hidden by weeds and 
underbrush. It so remained until 1878, when Con 
gress, upon the motion of S. S. Cox, of New York, 
appropriated five thousand dollars to restore the 
tomb and erect a new monument after the design 
found among Jefferson s papers, provided the 
owners of the estate would give a deed to the 
government for two rods square surrounding the 
grave, and grant the public free access thereto. 

53 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

The work was done under the direction of Wil 
liam M. Evarts, then Secretary of State, and one 
beautiful summer day a simple shaft was unveiled 
by President Hayes, in the presence of his Cabinet 
and a large attendance of distinguished men. 



54 



II 

JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

IT has always been an amiable fiction among 
historians, and Virginians generally, that Wil- 
liamsburg, the capital of the colony, was a gay 
and gorgeous place, illuminated by the splendor 
of a titled governor and a vice-regal court. We 
read of balls, processions, and ceremonials of va 
rious sorts, of gilded coaches, rich apparel, queenly 
manners, and princely entertainments in imitation 
of those at Windsor Castle and Hampton Court, 
when, in fact, Williamsburg was a scattered vil 
lage of ordinary wooden houses, most of them 
of a single story, and numbering only about two 
hundred in all. The population was less than one 
thousand souls, whites and blacks, including, as 
an early chronicler expresses it, " ten or twelve 
gentlemen s families, besides merchants and trades 
men." There were no sidewalks, no sewers, no 
water supply, and the grass grew in the streets. 
At the time of the greatest display of power and 
social elegance, it did not equal in appearance, 
convenience, or comforts any American village 
of equal population at the present day, and re 
sembled the undeveloped towns of Kansas and 
Nebraska. The " Palace" of the governor, which 
was the centre of social excitement as well as offi 
cial authority, was not superior in size or comfort 
to the homes of hundreds of thousands of village 
merchants throughout the land. The State-House 
was not more imposing that the court-house of the 

55 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

ordinary county town to-day, and the buildings 
of William and Mary College were insignificant 
compared with those that shelter the public schools 
in our western cities. But Williamsburg was then 
the social and intellectual centre of the South, 
and is identified with the career of many famous 
Virginians. 

The surrounding country, far into the interior 
of the State, was peopled by rich tobacco barons, 
many of whom drank to excess, gambled reck- 
I lessly, raced horses, patronized cock-fights, and 
lj were carried home by their slaves insensible from 
I their tavern carousals. Drunkenness, debauchery, 
licentiousness, extravagance, disregard of finan 
cial obligations, and other moral delinquencies were 
looked upon with sympathy rather than censure. 
They owned large, fine houses, scantily furnished 
and devoid of the comforts which are considered 
necessary at the present day, but their sideboards 
were loaded with silver plate and rare china, and 
their cellars were filled with the costliest wines. 
Their hospitality was as reckless as the rest of 
their habits. Every man who had a house kept 
a hotel, where friends and strangers were received 
with the same open-handed cordiality and toler 
ated as long as they cared to stay, unless, perhaps, 
they became offensive in their cups or behaved in 
an ungentlemanly manner. The planters were at 
tended by legions of slaves, and no gentleman could 
labor without losing caste. They were arrogant, 
but generous, equally reckless in morals and with 
money, and they had a code of honor peculiar to 
themselves. A man might debauch his neighbors, 
rob them at the gaming-table, impoverish his own 
family, and fall under the table in a drunken stu 
por without injury to his social position, but if 
he allowed himself to be called a coward or a liar 

56 



~ 



r > 



^ ~- 




JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

his reputation could only be repaired with the 
rapier. 

Williamsburg remains to-day very much as it 
was before the Revolution, the same sandy soil 
and soft, dry air; a few venerable mansions and 
much-patched cottages; the old Bruton parish 
church and the dust of the colonial nobility that 
slumbers under its protecting shadows. Some 
of their descendants remain to cherish their pedi 
grees, their clawfoot furniture, their old clocks. 
Reminiscences and relics of historical characters 
spring up at one from every turn in a surprising 
and gratifying manner. Here Jefferson, Marshall, 
Monroe, and Tyler were college students, and 
Washington and Jefferson courted their wives; 
here Patrick Henry made his reputation as an 
orator, and John Marshall occupied a law-office 
in the main street. William Wirt, Edmund Ran 
dolph, and other famous men lived and loved and 
worked in Williamsburg, and probably more dis 
tinguished characters passed over its sandy roads 
" in the good old colony times" than over those 
of any other town of its size in North America. 
Two of the buildings the court-house and the 
main dormitory of William and Mary College 
were designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the ar 
chitect of St. Paul s Cathedral in London, and the 
home of the president of the college is the only 
house in America that was built by a king. The 
original mansion was occupied by Lord Cornwallis 
as his head-quarters during the Revolution. When 
he retired it was taken possession of by the French 
allies and was accidentally burned. Louis XVI. 
of France heard of the disaster and sent over 
money to pay for its rebuilding. 

The Widow Custis (she that was Martha Dan- 
dridge), afterwards the wife of Washington, 

57 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

made her home in Williamsburg. Her residence, 
the centre of social gayety, was burned some years 
ago, and its site, still strewn with the soot-covered 
bricks that fell in the fire, is now a part of the 
grounds of the insane asylum. Nothing remains 
but the kitchen a small one-story house, which 
was detached, as is usual in the South, from the 
main structure, and thus preserved from destruc 
tion. It is now a tool-house for the gardeners 
of the institution. The Custis family and the 
Dandridges, from which Mrs. Custis came, were 
rich, hospitable, and aristocratic, and had several 
plantations in the neighborhood. While most of 
the courting was done there when Washington 
was a member of the House of Burgesses, the wed 
ding took place about thirty miles away, in New 
Kent County, where the bride s family had their 
home. Her first husband, George Parke Custis, 
is buried in a private cemetery upon one of his 
plantations, about two miles from town, and two 
infant children in the town cemetery. 

Lafayette promenaded the streets every day for 
months; Washington spent much time there, and 
the different houses in which he lived can still be 
pointed out. It is gratifying to have so much 
veneration and interest shown by the people in the 
preservation of historical structures. The resi 
dence of Chancellor George Wythe, with whom 
Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and Henry Clay 
studied law and maintained a partnership for sev 
eral years, was the head-quarters of Washington 
in 1781, and is as well preserved as if built in the 
last decade. A long frame structure near by was 
the home of Edmund Randolph, the first Secretary 
of State under the Constitution, who had already 
been Governor of Virginia. His descendants still 
occupy the home. The residences of William Wirt, 

58 




OF THE 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

John Marshall, and President John Tyler are still 
pointed out. The foundations of the old Capitol 
building, which was originally erected in 1705, 
restored after a fire in 1746, and then totally de 
stroyed in 1832, have been unearthed by the So 
ciety for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities 
and marked with a low coping of cement. It 
seems to have been a twin building, in the form 
of the letter H, connected by a colonnade. 

Williamsburg was founded in 1632 and became 
the seat of government in 1698, when the State- 
House and the jail at Jamestown were burned. 
It was then called Middle Plantation, but was re- 
christened by Governor Nicholson in honor of the 
king. The three chief reasons for the removal, 
as stated by contemporaneous writers, were the 
destruction of the government buildings at James 
town in what was known as the Bacon Rebellion 
against the authority of that testy old tyrant, Sir 
William Berkeley, because the College of William 
and Mary gave an air of scholastic dignity and 
social distinction to the place, and because " it was 
freer from the annoyance of moschetoes." The 
original town was composed of three streets, wide 
and straight, with a cipher made of a " W" at 
one end and an " M" at the other, in honor of 
King William and Queen Mary. The College 
stood at one end and the Capitol at the other. 

The governor s " Palace" was accidentally 
burned by the French troops during the Revolu 
tion. The last occupant was Lord Dunmore, who 
resided in great state, attended by the pomp and 
formality of viceroyalty, and at that time there 
was a park, comprising three hundred and sixty 
acres, behind the mansion, which is now a pasture. 
The site of the " Palace" is occupied by a school 
for boys. 

59 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

The three streets were named in honor of the 
princes of the royal house. The middle one is 
still called the Duke of Gloucester, and the others 
were named for the Duke of York and Prince 
Francis. The latter is now familiarly known as 
Jail Street. 

The old court-house, which stands in the centre 
of the town and was designed by Wren, is a small 
but well-proportioned building, still occupied for 
judicial purposes. Here Thomas Jefferson and 
Patrick Henry, John Marshall, William Wirt, Ed 
mund Randolph, John Randolph, John Tyler, and 
other famous lawyers of that time tried their cases. 
To-day it seems an humble theatre for their tal 
ents. 

An octagonal building of brick, familiar to every 
American school-boy by reason of the pictures that 
have appeared in the geographies and histories, is 
shown as " the Powder Horn," built by Alexander 
Spottswood in 1714 for an armory and powder 
magazine. Here was the scene of the first assem 
bling of an armed force in the American colonies 
in opposition to the authority of the king, when 
Lord Dunmore, in 1/74, fearing a mutiny among 
the colonies, removed the ammunition from " the 
Powder Horn" to the ship-of-war Magdalene, 
which was then lying at Yorktown. The colony 
was thrown into a fit of excitement, which rapidly 
spread north and south, and the act was discussed 
in every settlement of the colony as an example 
of British tyranny. 

General Washington was a member of the Ma 
sonic lodge, and the chair he occupied is still care 
fully preserved. The Williamsburg Gazette, the 
oldest newspaper in Virginia, and one of the old 
est in the country, which first appeared on the 
sixth of August, 1736, is still published. 

60 



^ 7: 
o 
8- "- 



3. 

8 - 




JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

The Bruton parish church, organized in 1632, 
and which, with perhaps the exception of a little 
sanctuary at Santa Fe, is the oldest building now 
used for religious worship in America, is built of 
brick in the form of a Roman cross, with a 
stately spire, and has been thoroughly restored to 
its original condition. Upon the walls are inter 
esting tablets. One of them, erected to the mem 
ory of Dr. William Cocke, announces that " his 
honoured friend Alexander Spottswood, Esquire, 
with the principal gentlemen of the Parish, at 
tended his funeral, and, weeping, saw his corps 
inter ed at the west side of the alter in this church." 
There is a tablet to the memory of President Tyler 
bearing a long epitaph, a scholarly composition. 
The most precious relics are three sets of silver 
for the communion service. One came from the 
church at Jamestown, the first English church 
erected in North America; another was presented 
to Bruton church by Queen Anne, and the third 
was a gift of George III. 

The oldest tomb in the church-yard bears the 
date of 1664. Colonel John Page was buried there 
in 1692, and Alice Page, his wife, in 1678. The 
Blair family are buried near by, and nearly every 
member of the " First Families of Virginia" can 
trace his ancestry to some one whose half-obliter 
ated epitaph is to be found within this sacred 
enclosure. Among the common colonists sleeps 
Lady Christine Stuart, a member of the royal 
house of Scotland, who married a Virginia gen 
tleman and lived and died in Williamsburg. She 
was a niece of Mary, Queen of Scots, and is said 
to have inherited the grace and beauty of that 
unfortunate woman. 

An imposing white shaft near the entrance 
covers the resting-place of Judge Nathaniel Bev- 

61 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

erly Tucker, who, his epitaph says, " was de 
scended from Virginia s best blood/ while over 
in the farther corner is a stone with this striking 
inscription : 

" Here lies all the grave can claim 

of 

Mrs. Ann Timson Jones, 
Consort of the Rev. Scervant Jones. 

Born i Sept. 1787 

Mar. 26 Dec. 1805. 

Bapt d 3 Mar. 1822 

Died 6 June 1849. 
If woman ever yet did well ; 
If woman ever did excell ; 
If woman husband e er adored; 
If woman ever loved the Lord 
If ever Faith and Hope and Love 
In human flesh did live and move; 
If all the Graces e er did meet 
In her, in her, they were complete. 



My Ann, my all, my Angel wife ! 
My dearest one, my love, my life ! 
I cannot say or sigh farewell. 
But where thou dwellest I will dwell." 

This epitaph was composed by a Baptist clergy 
man named Scervant Jones, a well-known, eccen 
tric character in that part of the country for half 
a century, who had an odd way of mixing humor 
and piety. Mr. Jones lies beside his wife, and 
his tombstone bears a long epitaph of an apologetic 
character. It speaks of his many faults and frail 
ties, but gives him credit for being a useful and 
well-meaning man. His enemies are invited to 
forgive him and the public to remember that he 
was more sinned against than sinning. 

One of the stories they tell of Brother Jones 
is that while riding his circuit one day he stopped 
for rest and refreshment at the house of a planter 
named Towles. The family had finished dinner 
as he arrived, and the servants were directed to 

62 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

bring back to the table what was left on the plat 
ter. Mr. Jones said grace as follows : 

" Good Lord of love, 
Look from above 
And bless the Towles 
Who ate these fowls 
And left the bones 
For Scervant Jones." 

The list of the alumni of William and Mary 
College in early days reads like a roll of the Con 
tinental Congress and the first Constitutional Con 
vention. It was the fountain-head of rebellion 
against tyranny and the inspiration of the apostles 
of the rights of men. Richard Bland announced 
from William and Mary in 1766 the startling doc 
trine that America was no part of the Kingdom of 
England, and Dabney Carr in 1773, as chairman 
of the Committee of Correspondence, here took 
the first step towards securing united resistance 
on the part of the colonies. Peyton Randolph, 
the first president of the Continental Congress; 
Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of 
Independence; John Tyler, who first proposed a 
constitutional convention; Edmund Randolph, 
who by submitting what is known as " the Vir 
ginia Plan" gave direction to its proceedings; 
John Marshall, who as chief- justice interpreted 
the meaning of the Constitution, and many others 
who bore active but less conspicuous parts in the 
formation of the government were educated at that 
institution. Seven of the eleven members of the 
Committee of Correspondence ; seven of the eleven 
members of the Committee of Safety; seventeen 
of the thirty-one members of the committee that 
reported the Declaration of Rights, four of the 
seven signers of the Declaration of Independence 
from Virginia, seventeen of the thirty-two mem- 

63 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

bers of the Continental Congress, five of the six 
judges of the first courts, three of the five speakers 
of the House of Delegates during the Revolution, 
two of the three delegates from Virginia to the 
Annapolis Convention, and four of the seven dele 
gates to the Federal Convention, were graduates. 

Three of the seven Presidents of the United 
States born in Virginia, four of the five judges 
contributed by that State to the Supreme Bench 
of the United States, sixteen of the twenty-seven 
United States Senators, three of the four speakers 
of the national House of Representatives, two of 
the three ambassadors to England, four of the six 
ministers to France, fifteen of the thirty-three Gov 
ernors of Virginia, and twenty-one of the forty- 
three members of the Supreme Court of that State 
were alumni, and this honor roll might be con 
tinued indefinitely, not forgetting General Winfield 
Scott, who also was educated there. 

Under the floor of the chapel, which was built 
in 1729, rest the remains of Sir John Randolph 
and his two eminent sons, Peyton Randolph, first 
president of the Continental Congress, and John 
Randolph, father of Edmund Randolph, who was 
Secretary of State under Washington. Near them 
lie James Madison, the first president of the col 
lege after the Revolution; Lord Botetourt, the 
most popular of Virginia s royal governors, who 
died in 1771, and many other famous men. For 
many years after the Civil War the College was 
badly crippled, owing to the partial destruction 
of its buildings and the depletion of its income, 
but in 1893, under the leadership of Mr. Hoar 
in the Senate and General N. M. Curtis, of New 
York, in the House, an act was passed to pay 
the damages that were caused by the Union sol 
diers. Then the venerable institution was galvan- 

6 4 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

ized into renewed life by its energetic president, 
Lyon G. Tyler, a son of the tenth President of 
the United States, five generations of whose family 
have been graduated from the institution. 

William and Mary is the oldest college in 
America, although Harvard graduated the first 
class. In 1685 the Rev. James Blair was sent 
over to Virginia to act as a sort of deputy for 
the Bishop of London, who had ecclesiastical ju 
risdiction over the colonial churches. They called 
him a " commissary." In 1691 he returned, to 
England to represent to the king and the bishop 
the necessity for an institution for higher educa 
tion. He was kindly received by his sovereigns 
and by the clergy, and in February, 1692, the king 
granted him a charter and gave him two thousand 
pounds in cash and the revenues of certain crown 
lands. Seymour, the attorney-general, having re 
ceived the royal command to draw up the docu 
ments, remonstrated. He saw no need of a col 
lege in Virginia. The patient Mr. Blair explained 
that it was needed to educate young men for the 
ministry, and begged the honorable attorney-gen 
eral to remember that the colonists had souls to 
be saved as well as the people of England. 

" D your souls !" exclaimed the imperious 

Seymour. " Make tobacco !" 

The college was named in honor of the two sov 
ereigns, who endowed it with twenty thousand 
acres of land, the receipts from a tax of one penny 
a pound on tobacco exported, and the revenue from 
skins and furs. Robert Boyle, a famous philan 
thropist of those days, endowed it with a fund 
for the conversion and instruction of the Indians. 
Sir Christopher Wren, the greatest of English 
architects, drew the plans for the building. Dr. 
Blair was appointed the first president and five pro- 
5 65 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

fessors, of Greek, Latin, mathematics, moral phi 
losophy, and divinity, were imported. The first com 
mencement took place in July, 1700, and a great 
concourse of people from all the colonies gathered 
at Williamsburg to witness the graduating exer 
cises. They came from New York, New England, 
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and the Caro- 
linas, and it was one of the events of that century. 

The population of Virginia at this time was 
about forty thousand. Massachusetts had seventy 
thousand; Connecticut, thirty thousand; New 
Hampshire, ten thousand ; Rhode Island, ten thou 
sand; New York, thirty thousand; New Jersey, 
fifteen thousand; Pennsylvania, twenty thousand; 
Maryland, twenty-five thousand; North Carolina, 
five thousand; South Carolina, seven thousand. 
The total population of the colonies was about two 
hundred and sixty-three thousand. 

The first Greek-letter fraternity Phi Beta 
Kappa was organized at William and Mary in 
1776, and among the charter members were John 
Marshall, chief- justice, and Bushrod Washington, 
associate justice of the Supreme Court; Spencer 
Roane, who was considered the ablest jurist ever 
produced in Virginia ; John Brown and Stephen T. 
Mason, Senators from Virginia; William Short, 
minister to Spain and Holland, and Elisha Parma- 
lee, a native of Massachusetts, who established 
chapters at Yale and Harvard when he returned 
home. 

Although he was much attached to the old town 
and his alma mater, it was Jefferson who caused 
the removal of the seat of government to Rich 
mond on the theory that the capital of a State 
should be as near as possible to its geographical 
centre. 

When young Jefferson came to college at Wil- 
66 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

liamsburg he brought with him all the requisites 
of the successful student, perfect health, good 
habits, and an inquisitive intellect. He came from 
a pure and honest home, where he had learned 
nothing but what was good and honorable, and had 
passed through a course of preparation under care 
ful and conscientious tutors. When five years old 
he attended an English school, and at nine became 
a boarding scholar in the family of the Rev. Wil 
liam Douglass, who had emigrated from Scotland 
to be tutor in the Monroe family, and afterwards 
established a school for boys on the banks of the 
James. Jefferson s father died in 1757, and his 
situation was touchingly described by him years 
afterwards in the letter previously referred to 
written to his eldest grandson (Thomas Jefferson 
Randolph) when the latter was sent from home 
to school for the first time. He writes : 

" When I recollect that at fourteen years of age 
the whole care and direction of myself was thrown 
on myself entirely, without a relative or friend 
qualified to advise or guide me, and recollect the 
various sorts of bad company with which I asso 
ciated from time to time, I am astonished that I 
did not turn off with some of them, and become 
as worthless to society as they were. I had the 
good fortune to become acquainted very early with 
some characters of very high standing, and to 
feel the incessant wish that I could ever become 
what they were." 

He immediately made use of his liberty to change 
his school, and from what we know of the cir 
cumstances, we can infer that it was then he first 
developed that spirit of resistance to tyranny and 
religious intolerance which influenced his entire 
life. Parson Douglass was a hard man of the 
" Evangelical" type. He gave his pupils the ser- 

67 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

mons and lectures of Philip Doddridge for light 
reading and pounded religion as well as the lan 
guages and mathematics into them at the rate of 
sixteen pounds sterling a year, as we see by the 
entries in Peter Jefferson s account-books. James 
Maury, a Huguenot, of liberal views on religion, 
of jovial disposition, refined manners, and literary 
tastes, also kept a school in the neighborhood, and 
to him young Jefferson went to complete his prepa 
rations for college. Teacher and pupil became fast 
friends for life, and one of Jefferson s first acts 
after he became Secretary of State was to appoint 
Dr. Maury s son, also named James, consul to 
Liverpool, where he remained for forty-five years. 
Dr. Maury must have been a kind friend as well 
as a competent teacher, and exercised a powerful 
influence in shaping the character of the brilliant 
youth, who always regarded him with confidence 
and affection. 

When Jefferson started for William and Mary 
College in 1760, on horseback, a five days ride, 
he had never been farther than twenty miles, from 
home, had never seen a town of more than twenty 
houses, and his acquaintance was limited to his 
school-fellows and the families of the farmers 
around Shadwell. Yet within a few months we 
find this awkward youth of seventeen the favored 
and frequent companion of Francis Fauquier, the 
most elegant and accomplished gentleman Virginia 
had ever seen; Doctor William Small, the most 
learned man in the colony, and George Wythe, the 
leader of its bar. Small was professor of philoso 
phy and mathematics at William and Mary, having 
been induced to come from Edinburgh a few years 
before. Fauquier, a favorite of the king, was gov 
ernor, and lived in the " Palace," where these four 
congenial spirits dined together " at a familiar 

68 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

table" two or three times a week. Why these men 
should have selected an unsophisticated student 
for their companion must be left for conjecture, 
but from them he received his culture and his first 
knowledge of the world. 

Governor Fauquier introduced French novels, 
classical music, card-playing, and many new 
" vices" into the colony. Professor Small instilled 
free thought and a broad philosophy into the minds 
of his students. The results were felt soon after 
throughout the young nation, and Jefferson says 
" he fixed the destinies of my life." Already 
Small s liberal views on theology and kindred 
subjects were beginning to bring William and 
Mary College under suspicion among the orthodox, 
and for that reason James Madison was sent to 
Princeton, where the fountain of learning was 
undefiled. George Wythe, afterwards chancellor, 
the most brilliant young lawyer in Virginia, was 
just beginning his career of honor and influence, 
and it was his privilege to educate for the bar and 
prepare for public life Thomas Jefferson, John 
Marshall, and Henry Clay. Wythe was a man of 
conscience as well as ability and wisdom. He was 
among the first to denounce the iniquity of slavery, 
and early emancipated his slaves. Henry Clay 
went from his office and inspiration to Kentucky, 
where his first political act was an attempt to in 
duce that young Commonwealth to abolish slavery. 

If Thomas Jefferson had been educated in a 
European capital he would probably have been an 
artist or an author. As his tastes then rail, he 
might have fixed upon architecture as his profes 
sion. At Williamsburg, with George Wythe for a 
daily associate, he needs must become a lawyer, 
and accordingly, in 1763, after two years at col 
lege, he entered Wythe s office as a student. 

69 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

When an old man, for the edification of a grand 
child, Jefferson drew a beautiful sketch in high 
relief of his own virtues in boyhood, which seem 
precocious and unnatural. But we have better 
evidence in his character than in his words. 
Neither his mind nor his morals were tainted 
by his association with Francis Fauquier, the most 
agreeable but the most profligate Governor of Vir 
ginia, whose evil influence was felt for generations. 
It speaks well for Jefferson s social attractions 
that he was admitted to the circle of older and 
accomplished men over which Fauquier presided, 
and for his moral stamina that he did not acquire 
vicious habits. No ordinary college student could 
have commanded such a social position or resisted 
the temptations it entailed. According to his own 
account he must have been a model youth and a 
remarkable student. He says that young men 
sought his advice as to what they should read, and 
parents consulted him concerning the education of 
their sons. He was asked to suggest a course of 
study for Madison when the latter was seventeen 
and himself twenty-three. He had already written 
a preposterous schedule of reading for a young 
man about to enter upon the law, and from that 
we may learn both what he claims to have practised 
himself and what he laid down for Madison, Mon 
roe, and other young friends. 

The student, duly prepared for the study of the 
law by mastering Latin and French, he says, and 
by a course of those " peculiarly engaging and 
delightful" branches, natural philosophy and 
mathematics, must divide each day into portions, 
and assign to each portion the studies most proper 
for it. Beginning at daylight, until eight in the 
morning he should confine himself to natural 
philosophy, morals, and religion ; reading treatises 

70 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

on astronomy, chemistry, anatomy, agriculture, 
botany, international law, moral philosophy, and 
metaphysics. Religion, during these early morn 
ing hours, was to be considered under two heads, 
" natural religion" and " religion sectarian." 
For information concerning religion the student 
was advised to apply to the following sources: 
" Bible; New Testament; commentaries on them 
by Middleton in his works, and by Priestley in 
his Corruption of Christianity and Early Opin 
ions of Christ; the sermons of Sterne, Massillon, 
and Bourdaloue." From eight to twelve A.M. he 
was to read law and condense cases, " never using 
two words where one will do." From twelve to 
one he was advised to " read politics," in Montes 
quieu, Locke, Priestley, Malthus, and the " Parlia 
mentary Debates." In the afternoon he was to 
divert his mind with history; and, when evening 
came, he might regale himself with literature, 
criticism, rhetoric, and oratory. As an alternative 
amusement the student was recommended in the 
evening " to write criticisms of the books he read, 
to analyze the orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, 
to read good English orations and pleadings with 
closest attention to the secrets of their excellence, 
to compose original essays, and to plead imaginary 
causes with a friend." 

He used to tell his grandchildren that when he 
was a law student he kept a clock on a shelf oppo 
site his bed; and his rule was to get up in the 
summer mornings as soon as he could see what 
o clock it was and begin his day s work at once. 
In the winter he rose at five and went to bed at 
nine. 

We learn from his early letters, however, that 
while at college he was quite extravagant in dress 
and in his outlay for horses. He was very exact- 

71 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

ing of his groom in having his horses always beau 
tifully kept, and it was his habit, when his riding- 
horse was brought up for him, to brush his white 
cambric handkerchief across the animal s shoulders, 
and send it back to the stable if any dust were left 
on the handkerchief. 

Early in the year 1767, about the time of his 
twenty-fourth birthday, he was admitted and be 
gan at once the practice of his profession. Unlike 
most beginners at the bar, he was not compelled 
to wait for clients. He was fortunate in his 
generation and in the circumstances which sur 
rounded him. In 1642 the Legislature of Virginia 
passed a law expelling all " mercenary attorneys" 
that is, paid attorneys from the courts, and for 
nearly eleven years not a lawyer in the State could 
take a fee from a client for servjng in court. As 
the rogues took advantage of this, the law was 
repealed and attorneys were licensed; but they 
were required to take an oath not to oppress clients 
nor encourage litigation. No sooner were they 
back at the bar again than they began to make 
mischief, and the House of Burgesses in 1657 de 
cided to " eject" lawyers entirely from the courts. 
The law appears upon the statute-books of that 
date and remained in force twenty-three years. 
In the meantime people who had litigation were 
compelled to rely upon their neighbors to assist 
them in examining witnesses and making pleas. 
But in 1680 the House of Burgesses, at that time 
composed exclusively of farmers, passed an act 
allowing the lawyers to appear again in court, and 
fixing their compensation at rates which were in 
tended to be liberal. The ordinary fee for trying 
a case in the chief court of the colony was five 
hundred pounds of tobacco, and in the county 
courts, one hundred and fifty pounds. 

72 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

These fees were the highest that could be 
charged, and Jefferson s account-books show that 
his usual compensation was somewhat less. Dur 
ing his first year at the bar he was employed in sixty- 
eight cases before the General Court, and his fees 
amounted to two hundred and ninety-three pounds 
four shillings and five and three- fourths pence. At 
that rate a lawyer would receive fifty dollars for 
arguing a case before the Supreme Court of the 
United States, ten dollars before a local court, two 
dollars for an oral opinion, and five dollars for 
a written opinion. Until after 1792, when law 
yers fees were again fixed by the Legislature of 
Virginia, the most eminent lawyer in the State 
could not legally charge for the most elaborately 
written opinion on the most abstruse question more 
than sixteen dollars and sixty-six cents ; and when 
lawyers attended court more than a day s travel 
from their homes they were allowed only three 
dollars and fifty-eight cents a day. 

Nevertheless, it was a good time for a lawyer 
when Jefferson began to practise, and he could 
make up for the small fees by the number of his 
cases. Almost everybody was in litigation. After 
one hundred years of extravagance the planters 
were bankrupt. One century of prosperity, three 
generations of spendthrifts, then a lawyer and the 
sheriff. There were no manufactures, no commerce, 
no towns, no internal trade. As fast as the rich 
ness of the soil could be converted into tobacco it 
was sent to London and exchanged for fine man 
sions, heavy furniture, costly apparel, wines, fine 
horses, coaches, and slaves. The planters lived as 
though the earth were inexhaustible, and tried to 
maintain the lordly style of English grandees. 
The soil was rapidly exhausted, the price of ne 
groes always on the increase, and the price of to- 

73 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

"bacco always going downward. The only laborers 
were ignorant slaves, whose possession destroyed 
the energy of their masters, swelled their pride, 
and dulled their understanding. 

Such was the condition when Jefferson was ad 
mitted to the bar, and he doubled his estate because 
of it in seven years practice. Of his business 
before the inferior tribunals he leaves no record, 
but during his first year he had sixty-eight cases 
before the General Court; the second year one 
hundred and fifteen; the third, one hundred and 
ninety-eight ; the fourth, one hundred and twenty- 
one; the fifth, one hundred and thirty-seven; the 
sixth, one hundred and fifty- four ; the seventh, one 
hundred and twenty-seven, and the eighth, which 
was 1774, only twenty-nine, for at that time the 
colony was agitated and Virginia had other work 
for him. 

Most of his business concerned conflicting land- 
grants, debts and mortgages, horse and slave 
trades, trespass, assault and battery, libel, mal 
versation in office, and contested elections. The 
Carters, Carringtons, Dinwiddies, Claibornes, 
Elands, Lees, Pages, and other of the first families 
of Virginia were his clients. The young attorney 
must have had the confidence of the community, 
When he needed counsel or assistance he applied 
to George Wythe, his preceptor, or to Edmund 
Pendleton, and his account-books show that he 
divided fees with Patrick Henry on several occa 
sions. 

His keen observation, quick perceptions, and in 
quisitive nature qualified him for the law. He 
had tireless industry, method, learning, skill and 
rapidity in handling books, and the instinct of 
research which led him to the fact he wanted as 
the hound scents the game, a serenity of temper, 

74 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

a habit of noting everything upon paper in such 
a way that his fund of knowledge could be rapidly 
arranged and brought into action, a ready sympa 
thy with a client s mind, and the faculty of stating 
a case with clearness and brevity. He once de 
fined a lawyer as a person whose trade it is to 1 
contest everything, concede nothing, and talk by 
the hour. He was no orator. His vocal organs 
were defective, and if he spoke in a tone much 
above that of conversation, his voice soon became 
husky and articulation difficult. He never resumed 
the practice of law after he was elected to the Con 
tinental Congress. In 1775, at thirty-one, after 
seven years successful exercise of his profession, 
he transferred his unfinished cases to his friend 
and kinsman, Edmund Randolph, before he started 
for Philadelphia. 

Perhaps the greatest service Jefferson performed 
for his native State was to revise the laws of Vir 
ginia, which were a chaos of obsolete and anti 
quated enactments, good for lawyers but bad for 
clients. A Committee of Revision was elected by 
the Assembly by ballot. He received the highest 
number of votes. The other members were Ed- 
. mund Pendleton, George Wythe, his preceptor, 
George Mason, and F. L. Lee. The two last- 
named, not being lawyers, did little work. Jef 
ferson took the greater part of the burden upon 
his own shoulders, and produced a revision which 
was not only important to the State, but was the 
most arduous, difficult, and perplexing labor of his 
life. 

In those days, when printing presses were scarce, 
the acts passed by the Legislature seldom went be 
yond the final enrolled copy, and lawyers were 
compelled to procure transcripts of them. As a 
natural result many of the local courts and lawyers 

75 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

found themselves without copies. Jefferson made 
a very valuable collection of all of the Virginia 
laws. He found difficulty in procuring copies of 
some of them, some appeared to have perished, 
others were written on paper so rotten with age 
that it would crumble at the touch, and the ink 
used in others had almost faded out. "I set myself 
to work, therefore," he says, " to collect all which 
were then existing, in order that when the day 
should come in which the public should advert to 
the magnitude of their loss in these precious monu 
ments of our property and our history, a part of 
their regret might be spared by information that 
a portion had been saved from the wreck, which 
is worthy of their attention and preservation. 
In searching after these remains, I spared neither 
time, trouble, nor expense." Thus during the days 
of his practice he was preparing for the duty of re 
vision which he was destined to perform, and had 
to furnish a greater part of the copy used by him 
self and his associates. The State owed the pres 
ervation of its laws to this careful young student. 

The statutes were full of absurdities and crudi 
ties and were the instruments of oppression rather 
than justice. The blue laws of Connecticut were 
forgeries, but the blue laws of Virginia were genu 
ine, and worse than those of Connecticut were ever 
represented. The committee swept away most of 
the ancient code. Jefferson s colleagues were dis 
posed to retain the old doctrine of retaliation, an 
eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a poisoner to 
be poisoned, a maimer to be maimed exactly like 
his victim. But they yielded to his importunities, 
and no sheriff has ever since been compelled to 
pry out an eye or bite off a nose. 

During the first month of the work of revision 
he proposed enough work to keep the Legislature 

76 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

busy for ten years. His first bill established a 
new judiciary for the State, defining its powers, 
jurisdiction, and rules of procedure. The next 
fixed the terms upon which foreigners could be 
admitted to citizenship in Virginia, two years 
residence, a declaration of intention to live in the 
State, and an oath of allegiance; minor children 
of naturalized parents and minors without parents 
in the State to become citizens on coming of age 
without legal formality. The principle of this bill 
and most of its details have been adopted by the 
national government. 

One of the first of the popular institutions of 
the State to be assaulted by this young and ener 
getic reformer was the foundation of the Virginia 
aristocracy, towards which he had early acquired 
a determined hostility. The colonists brought Jrom 
England_with other fetiches the ^ancient la\v of 
entaJLand pirnpgemture, which prevented the di 
vision of estates, excluding the daughters and all 
the sons but the eldest from sharing the property 
of their parents. As a consequence the best part 
of Virginia was held by a few decaying families 
who had neither the ability, the energy, nor the 
capital to improve their lands, and left no oppor 
tunity for people of enterprise to add to the wealth 
of the State. The slaves went with the land. 
This left the younger sons of a family without 
hope and drove them into the professions, which 
were already overcrowded. After a three weeks 
struggle in the Legislature, against the opposition 
of the aristocracy of the State, the primogeniture 
law was repealed. Every acre and every negro 
in Virginia by the first of November, 1776, was 
held in fee simple, could be sold to any comer, 
and was free to fall into hands that were able to 
use them. It was the easiest and quickest of his 

77 




THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

triumphs, though he did not outlive the enmity 
his victory awakened. 

One of the first to suffer by the reform was his 
own son-in-law, Randolph, whose father, a brisk 
and convivial old gentleman, showed inclinations 
towards a second marriage. A girl in her teens 
was the object of his affections, upon whom he 
proposed to make so generous a settlement as to 
impoverish his children and throw them upon Jef 
ferson for support. The latter wrote his daughter 
that Colonel Randolph s marriage was a thing to 
be expected, as his amusements depended upon 
society and he could not live alone. The settle 
ment upon the old man s bride might be neither 
prudent nor just, but he hoped that it would not 
lessen their affection for him. 

The aristocracy of Virginia were afterwards the 
enemies of Jefferson because of his energy with 
which he attacked the laws of entail and caused 
a social revolution in the State. This class, whose 
distinction was thus destroyed, never forgave him, 
and always hated and reviled him with relentless 
animosity, they and the generations that came 
after them. Jefferson explained that his purpose 
was to destroy the aristocracy of wealth and make 
an opening for an aristocracy of virtue and edu 
cation. His assault upon the church to which, 
with all their sinfulness, they were loyal, aggra 
vated the case, for the preachers were social as well 
as religious autocrats. 

Among other laws which Jefferson omitted in 
his revision of the Virginia Code was that which 
required a " babbling woman to be punished by 
ducking," "and if the slander be soe enormous 
as to be adjudged at a greater damage than five 
hundred pounds of tobacco, then the woman is 
to suffer a ducking for every five hundred pounds 

78 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

of tobacco adjudged against the husband if he 
refuse to pay the tobacco." 

Jefferson s idea of trial by jury was expressed 
in a letter to a friend in which he said : " The 
people are not qualified to judge questions of law, 
but they are very capable of judging questions 
of fact. In the form of juries therefore, they de 
termine all matters of fact leaving to the permanent 
judges to decide the law resulting from those 
facts." 

Jefferson was a determined opponent of the prac 
tice of duelling, and condemned it on all occasions. 
In the Crimes Bill of the State of Virginia he 
arranged for the punishment of duelling by death, 
and provided that the body of the challenger should 
be hung on a gibbet. 

He was strongly opposed to a life tenure for 
the judiciary. He advocated terms of four or 
six years for judges, and removal by the President 
and Senate. " This," he said, " will bring their 
conduct at regular periods under revision and pro 
bation." M 

He was especially preju^oed^a^ainst the Su- yr 

preme Court ofjhe^nited States and L Chief-Justice__ 
AlarjH^TT^wrTose interpretation of the Constitution 
wlJjT^lijilidLt^ hjs_lil^rnp\ He alludes frequently 
to Marshall s " twistifications," a word he coined 
to define his idea of the latter s decisions. He ac 
cused Marshall of " rancorous hatred" to the gov 
ernment of his country, and referred to " the cun 
ning sophistries with which he is able to enshroud 
himself." "The Supreme Court of the United 
States," he said, " can be compared to a subtle 
corps of sappers and miners, constantly working 
underground to undermine the foundation of our 
government, and the independent rights of the 
state, and to concentrate all power in the hands 

79 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

of that government in which they have so impor 
tant a free hold at stake." He accused Marshall 
of trying to overawe Congress, and " to become 
an inquisitor on the freedom of speech, of writing 
and of principle." 

Jefferson s criticism of John Marshall injured 
his reputation as a lawyer, but it should be re 
membered that he attacked the judiciary as a poli 
tician and an intense partisan, and not as a jurist. 
When the interpretation of the Constitution became 
the subject of controversy he sought political ad 
vantage, and Jefferson the lawyer retired in favor 
of Jefferson the politician ; but when a great emer 
gency arose the politician retired and the statesman 
appeared to assume responsibilities and direct poli 
cies which had no place in his political creed. This 
disposition was illustrated in a remarkable manner 
by his conduct of the Louisiana purchase. 

Jefferson was an early and severe critic of the 
Constitution, which was adopted during his resi 
dence in France and was not sufficiently radical 
to meet the sentiments concerning liberty which he 
had acquired there and which had developed like 
tropical plants in the heat of the French Revolu 
tion. His letters to his friends at home show that 
his first impressions were decidedly unfavorable, 
and he wrote impulsive protests to Madison and 
others containing reckless views that were after 
wards modified. He held that the Constitutional 
Convention had been unduly influenced by appre 
hensions concerning the result of Shea s Rebellion, 
and scoffed at the idea. He thought an occasional 
rebellion was a good thing. " God forbid that we 
should be twenty years without a rebellion," he 
declared as he came fresh from the guillotine and 
the Place de la Concorde. " We have had thirteen 
states independent for eleven years. There has 

80 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

been but one rebellion. That comes to one rebel 
lion in a century and a half for each state. What 
country ever existed a century and a half without 
a rebellion. What signifies a few lives lost in 
a century or two. The tree of liberty must be 
refreshed from time to time with the blood of 
patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." 
And he refers contemptuously to the Constitution 
as " a kite sent up to keep the henyard in order." 

In a letter to John Adams he says : " How do 
you like our new constitution ? I confess that there 
are things in it which stagger all my dispositions 
to subscribe to what such an assembly has pro 
posed. The house of federal representatives will 
not be adequate to the management of affairs, either 
foreign or federal. Their president seems a bad 
edition of a Polish king. He may be elected from! 
four years to four years for life. Indeed, I think 
all the good of this constitution might have been 
couched in three or four new articles to be added; 
to the good, old, and venerable fabric, which should ; 
have been preserved even as a religious relique." 

In a letter to James Madison he says : "I will 
now tell you what I do not like. Eirst the omis 
sion of a bill of rights, providing clearly and with 
out the aid of sophism, for freedom of religion, 
freedom of the press, protection against standing 
armies, restriction of monopolies, the eternal and 
unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws and 
trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the 
laws of the land, and not by the laws of nations. 
Tliesecondjeature I dislike y and strongly dislike, 
is tHearjandonment, in every instance, of the prin 
ciple of rotation in office." 

Later, without recalling these intemperate ut 
terances, Jefferson expressed his objections in more 
statesmanlike language, and reduced them to a 
6 81 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

few points, the omission of a Bill of Rights; 
the failure to provide for rotation in office and to 
limit the Presidency to a single term. He finally 
concluded that it was best to ratify the Constitu 
tion as it was written, and then amend it after 
experience had demonstrated its weaknesses and 
defects. One of his commentators says that he 
regarded the Constitution as an experiment rather 
than an achievement. Finally, in 1809, he became 
satisfied with the results of the experiment and 
writes Madison, " No constitution was ever before 
so well calculated as ours for extensive empire and 
self government." 

In his biography of himself, prefixed to the first 
volume of his memoirs, published after his death, 
he makes this explanation: )" The absence of ex 
press declarations ensuring freedom of religion, 
freedom of the press, freedom of the person under 
the uninterrupted protection of the habeas corpus, 
and trial by jury in civil as well as in criminal 
cases, excited my jealousy; and the re-eligibility 
of the president for life I quite disapproved.^ 

In his interpretation of the general welfare clause 
Jefferson wrote : " The Constitution says Con 
gress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, 
duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts, etc., 
provide for the common defense and general wel 
fare of the United States. I suppose the mean 
ing of the clause to be, that Congress may collect 
taxes for the purpose of providing for the general 
welfare, in those cases wherein the constitution 
empowers them to act for the general welfare. 
To suppose that it was meant to give them a dis 
tinct substantive power, to do any act which might 
tend to the general welfare is to render all the 
enumerations useless, and to make their powers 
unlimited." 

82 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 



Jefferson/S rerorr[_on slavery is 
He wasja n al^Ifionist in theory, but in practice 
fie^ jaw _Id^ffi culties~"aiTd ...obstacles tliat even his 
fertile mind could not_overcome. His views were j/ 
expressed in a passage in the Declaration of In 
dependence which -was stricken out by Congress; 
but he was not in favor of emancipation unless the 
slaves could be extirpated, because he did not 
believe that the whites and blacks would live at . 
peace with one another if the latter were ever 
free. He was one of the organizers of the Coloni 
zation Society, still in existence, for the establish 
ment of a colony of American freedmen in Sierra 
Leone, on the coast of Africa, whence they orig 
inally came. He wrote a great deal on the sub 
ject, and argued that they would not only find 
homes for themselves, but " would carry with them 
the seeds of civilization which might render their 
sufferings here a blessing to them and to their de 
scendants." His prophetic mind foresaw that the 
slavery problem would sooner or later bring dis 
aster upon the South. 

Deeplv^sjefferson came, to hate slavery, clearly 
as JT^_fnrptn1r1 fhp ruin pnrlnspH in the system, lie 

^ ni s own nome - 



^ 

He saw his father patiently drilling negroes, not 
long from their native Africa, into carpenters, mil 
lers, wheelwrights, shoemakers, and farmers. He 
saw his mother of a morning in her sitting-room, 
which was well furnished with contrivances for 
facilitating labor, seated with her daughters and 
her servants, like Andromache surrounded by her 
maidens, all busy with household tasks. 

It was in his Notes on Virginia that he said 
concerning slavery : " Indeed, I tremble for my 
country when I reflect that God is just, and that 
his justice can not sleep forever." The abolition 

83 




THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

of slavery/ he said, " is not impossible, and ought 
never to be despaired of. Every plan should be 
advocated and every experiment tried which may 
do something towards the ultimate object," 

Although slavery was abhorrent to him, he had 
a low opinion of the virtue and ability of the col 
ored race, and often asserted that " nature herself 
had made it impossible for the two races to live 
happily together on equal terms." He considered 
the Indian much superior in mental capacity, but 
had " never observed any negro or negress with 
one gleam of superior intelligence, aptitude or 
taste. No negro standing behind his master s chair 
had ever caught from the educated conversation 
of educated persons an educated mode of thinking. 
Never could I find that a black had uttered a 
thought above the level of plain narration; and 
I never saw even an elementary trait of painting 
or sculpture." Yet to one who defended slavery 
on the theory of the intellectual superiority of 
the white man he said : " Whatever their degree 
of talent, it is no measure of their right. Because 
Sir Isaac Newton was superior to others in under 
standing, he was not therefore lord of the persons 
or the property of others." 

When he was engaged with Wythe and Pendle- 
ton in the revision of the statutes of Virginia, 
they first made a digest of existing laws concerning 
slavery, silently dropping such as they deemed in 
admissible and arranging the rest, as was their 
custom, in the form of a bill. The subject they 
resolved to keep by itself, designing to present it 
when the sentiment of the Legislature and the 
public should admit of the discussion of emanci 
pation in a dispassionate and unselfish manner. 
These benevolent revisers demanded of Virginia 
a degree of self-control, wisdom, foresight, and 

8 4 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

executive genius which the whole human race 
could not have furnished. By the provisions of 
their bill all slave children born after the passage 
of the act were to be free; but they were to re 
main with their parents during childhood, and be 
educated at the public expense " in tillage, arts or 
sciences, according to their geniuses, until matur 
ity, when they were to be colonized in some con 
venient place, furnished with arms, implements and 
seeds, declared independent, and protected until 
they were strong enough to protect themselves." 
But they never ventured to introduce this amend 
ment into the Legislature. " It was found," wrote 
Jefferson in 1821, " that the public mind would not 
bear the proposition, nor will it bear it even at this 
day." 

y One thing, however, they did accomplish. In 
fi778 Jefferson brought in a bill forbidding the 
Ifurther importation of slaves, which was passed 
^vithout opposition. This was the only important 
change made in the slave"systempf Virginia ci tiring 
tRe^tevblutionary jperiod. He struck another blow 
in-nngress in 17837 which again his Southern 
colleagues warded off. The cession by Virginia 
of her vast domain in the Northwest, out of which 
several States have been formed, was accepted by 
Congress; and he drew a plan for its temporary 
government. He inserted a clause abolishing 
slavery " after the year 1800 of the Christian era," 
which was lost by one vote in a Congress of 
twenty-three members, ten States being repre 
sented. The four New England States, New York, 
and Pennsylvania voted for the clause. New Jer 
sey would have favored it, but she had only two 
members, one of whom was sick in his chambers. 
South Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia voted 
against it. North Carolina was divided, as would 

85 






THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

have been Virginia had not one of her delegates 
been sick in bed. Seven votes being required to 
decide the proposition affirmatively, it was lost, 
and then Jefferson says : " Thus we see the fate 
of millions unborn, hanging on the tongue of one 
man, and heaven was silent in that awful moment." 
Writing a friend he said : " We must await with 
patience the workings of an overruling Providence 
and hope that it is preparing the deliverance of 
these our suffering brethren. When the measure 
of their tears shall be full, when their groans shall 
have involved Heaven itself in darkness, doubtless 
a God of Justice will awaken to their distress." 

In 1820 he wrote a letter to Lafayette concerning 
the Missouri question in which he said : " All know 
that permitting the slaves of the south to spread 
into the west will not add one being to that un 
fortunate condition, that it will increase the happi 
ness of those existing, and by spreading them over 
a larger surface, will dilute the evil everywhere, 
and facilitate the means of getting finally rid of 
it, an event more anxiously wished by those on 
whom it presses than by the noisy pretenders to 
exclusive humanity." 

/ Jefferson never bought slaves on an investment. 
He inherited thirty, from his father in 1757, and 
they increased to fifty-four by 1774. The remain 
der of his slaves came to him by ways other than 
purchase. ^[e_.taught them trades in order that 
they might be self-supporting in case they were 
ever made free. A, visitor at Monticello describes 
" a cluster of little shops wherein his own negroes 
carried on the necessary trades ; such as carpentry, 
cabinet-making, shoe-making, tailoring, weaving. 
The masonry of the rising mansion was also exe 
cuted by slaves. There was a mill upon the estate 
for the accommodation of the neighborhood. For 

86 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

many years the making of nails had been one of 
the winter industries of American farmers, all 
nails being then of the wrought description; Jef 
ferson too, had his nail forge, wherein a foreman 
and half a dozen men and boys hammered out 
nails for the country round about. When James 
Monroe built his house near by, it was from his 
former instructor that he bought his nails. At 
times Jefferson had as many as ten nailors at work, 
two fires, and five hands at each fire; and he sup 
plies the country stores far and near with nails 
at an excellent rate of profit. His weaving force 
also grew into a little factory of 60 spindles, pro 
ducing cotton cloth for all his plantation as well 
as a redundancy for the village stores. Some of 
his black mechanics on the estate were among the 
best workmen in Virginia. One man is spoken 
of as being a universal genius in handiwork. He 
painted the mansion, made some of its best furni 
ture, repainted the mill, and lent a hand in that 
prodigious structure of the olden time, a family 
coach planned by the master." 

Edward Bacon, his overseer, says : " Mr. Jef 
ferson was always very kind and indulgent to 
his servants. He would not allow them to be 
at all overworked, and he would hardly ever allow 
one of them to be whipped. His orders to me 
were constant, that if there was any servant that 
could not be got along with without the chastising 
that was customary, to dispose of him. He could 
not bear to have a servant whipped no odds how 
much he deserved it. Mr. Jefferson had a large num 
ber of favorite servants, that were treated just as 
well as could be. Burwell was the main principal 
servant on the place. He did not go to Washington. 
Mr. Jefferson had the most perfect confidence in him. 
He told me not to be at all particular with him 

87 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

to let him do pretty much as he pleased, and let 
him have pocket money occasionally, as he wanted 
it. He stayed at Monticello, and took charge of 
the meat house, garden, etc., and kept the premises 
in order. Mr. Jefferson gave him his freedom 
in his will, and it was right that he should do 
it. Mr. Jefferson freed a number of servants in 
his will. I think he would have freed all of them, 
if his affairs had not been so much involved that 
he could not do it. He freed one little girl some 
years before he died, and there was a great deal 
of talk about it. She was nearly as white as any 
body and very beautiful. People said he freed her 
because she was his own daughter. She was not 
his daughter. When she was nearly grown, by 
Mr. Jefferson s direction I paid her stage fare to 
Philadelphia and gave her fifty dollars. I have 
never seen her since and don t know what became 
of her. From the time she was large enough she 
had always worked in the cotton factory. She 
never did any hard work." 

In his will Jefferson gave Burwell, his body- 
servant, who also did the painting about Monti- 
cello, " my good affectionate and faithful servant, 
his freedom, and $300 to start him in business 
of painter and glaizer." Two other slaves, Hen- 
nings, who was a carpenter, and Fosset, who was 
a blacksmith, were both given their freedom and 
tools, an acre, and money to build a log house on 
an acre of land near the university, " where they 
will be mostly employed," and he made arrange 
ments for their employment before his death. He 
also gave John Hennings the services of his two 
sons, Madison and Eston Hennings, until they 
were of age, when they were to have their freedom, 
and showed his anxiety for their future and his 
respect for the law by adding to his will this clause : 



JEFFERSON AS A LAWYER 

" And I humbly and earnestly request of the legis 
lature of Virginia a confirmation of the bequests 
of freedom to these servants, with permission to 
remain in this state, where their families and con 
nections are, as an additional instance of the favor 
of which I have received so many other manifes 
tations in the course of my life, and for which I 
now give them my last solemn and dutiful thanks." 



89 



Ill 

JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

JEFFERSON always gave his occupation as that 
qf__a_farmer, although it was the only one_of the 
nian^wide helds ot his activity in which "KJT abso- 
lutelyTailed ; and he was willing to confess his 
iailure by yielding the control of his estates to 
his grandson. He was passionately fond of coun 
try life; he was forever talking about retirement 
from politics and the enjoyment of the tranquillity 
of the farm and communion with nature. He 
planned a hermitage at the Natural Bridge of Vir 
ginia, where he intended to seek perfect seclusion 
from responsibilities and cares, and never tired of 
discussing the advantages enjoyed by those who 
lived close to the soil. Jefferson was anxious to 
keep this an agricultural country. He was opposed 
to the introduction of manufacturing , establish 
ments and the immigration of artisans. " While 
we have land to labor," he said, " let us never wish 
to see our citizens kept at a work bench or twirl 
ing a distaff. Carpenters, masons and smiths are 
wanted in husbandry, but for the general operation 
of manufactures let our workshops remain in 
Europe." And in a letter to John Jay he said: 
" I consider the class of artificers as panderers of 
vice and the instruments by which the liberties of 
a country are generally overthrown." \ 

He abhorred cities, and considered them danger 
ous to the public welfare. Again he said : " Cul 
tivators of the earth make the best citizens. They 

90 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

are the most vigorous, the most virtuous and the 
most independant. They are tied to their country, 
and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most 
lasting bonds. As long therefore as they can find 
employment in this line I would not convert them 
into mariners, artisans or anything else." 

:< The best tenants," he wrote in his later days, 
" are foreigners who do not speak the language. 
Unable to communicate with the people of the 
country they confine themselves to their farms and 
families, compare their present state to what it was 
in Europe, and find great reason to be contented. 
Of all foreigners, I should prefer Germans. They 
are the easiest got, the best for their landlords, 
and do best for themselves." He saw a providential 
blessing in the yellow fever because " it will dis 
courage the growth of great cities in our nation, 
and I view these great cities as pestilential to the 
morals, to the health and to the liberties of man 
kind." 

He loved his garden and the fields, the orchards, 
and his asparagus beds. Every day he rode 
through his plantation and walked in his gardens. 
In the cultivation of flowers he took great pleasure. 
" One of my early recollections is of the attention 
which he paid to his flower beds," writes Mrs. 
Coolidge, his granddaughter. "I remember the 
planting of the first hyacinths and tulips that came 
from Europe. The bulbs arrived, labelled each one 
with a fancy name. There was Marcus Aurelius 
and the King of the Gold Mine/ the Roman Em 
press and the Queen of the Amazons/ Psyche/ 
the God of Love/ etc. These precious roots were 
committed to the earth under my grandfather s 
own eye, with his beautiful granddaughter Anne 
standing by his side, and a crowd of happy young 
faces of younger grandchildren, clustering round 

91 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

to see the progress, and inquire anxiously the name 
of each separate deposit. 

" Then, when spring returned how eagerly we 
watched the first appearance of the shoots above 
ground. Each root was marked by its own name 
written on a bit of stick by its side; and what 
joy it was for one of us to discover the tender 
green breaking through the mould, and run to 
grandpapa and announce that we really believed 
Marcus Aurelius was coming up, or the Queen of 
the Amazons was above ground. With how much 
pleasure, compounded of our own pleasure and his 
own, on the new birth, he would immediately go 
out to verify the fact, and praise us for our dili 
gent watchfulness." 

Captain Edmund Bacon, for twenty years over 
seer and business man of Jefferson s plantation, 
whose indifference or incompetency, according to 
Jefferson himself, impoverished his employer, left 
interesting reminiscences which were afterwards 
published in a little volume. It was injustice to 
charge Bacon with mismanagement at Monticello, 
for his employer wrote him the most detailed in 
structions while he was absent at Philadelphia, 
Washington, and elsewhere ; but Bacon showed no 
resentment, and to the day of his death, which 
occurred in 1862, spoke of Jefferson as the most 
considerate and generous of employers. The lat 
ter reciprocated this sentiment, and when Bacon 
voluntarily left the plantation to seek his fortunes 
in the new West, Jefferson gave him letters of 
introduction to governors, generals, and federal 
officials everywhere, and a general commendation 
in which he said, " Not one man in a thousand 
would have done so well for me as Bacon has 
done. 7 And in other letters and membranda Jef 
ferson speaks of him with great respect and con- 

92 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

fidence as one who would do faithfully and exactly 
what he was told. 

Jefferson inherited from his father nineteen hun 
dred acres of land, and began the practice of law 
when he became of age in 1764. His practice very 
soon became extensive, and yielded him an income 
of three thousand dollars, while from his planta 
tion he received about two thousand dollars, 
making a sum total of five thousand dollars a 
year. This was a handsome income as property 
was then rated; for the very best highlands of 
Albemarle were valued at not more than two dol 
lars an acre. In 1774 he had increased his estates 
to five thousand acres, and several fine farms came 
to him with his wife. 

The entire valley was originally held by a few 
settlers, Peter Jefferson, William Randolph, Nich 
olas Meriwether, and Robert Walker, who in 1735 
received large grants of wild land from the 
crown which in course of time were divided into 
farms. 

Jefferson s birthplace is in sight of the portico 
of his mansion. The house in which his father 
and mother lived stood upon a sunny slope in the 
valley of the Rivanna, which winds around like 
a silver ribbon among the hills of red clay. There 
is so much oxide of iron in the soil that it stains 
the hands and looks almost the color of crimson. 
The land is lean, but the view is superb. From 
the cupola of the mansion you can look into half 
a dozen counties. The home of President Monroe, 
known as Ashlawn, lies about eight miles down 
the valley; Madison s home, a few miles north, 
was called Montpelier. 

Monticello is five hundred and eighty feet high 
in the form of a cone. It slopes eastward one and 
a half miles to the Rivanna River. The view ex- 

93 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

tends about forty-seven miles to the Blue Ridge 
Mountains. West and southwest is an irregular 
range known as the Ragged Mountains, and at 
their base in full view of Monticello sits the Uni 
versity of Virginia. The top of the hill was lev 
elled for a building-site, six hundred by two hun 
dred feet. The landscape slopes gently on every 
side from this lawn; one hundred feet from the 
eastern end stands the mansion. With its project 
ing porticos east and west, the width of the house 
is one hundred feet each way. It approaches on 
either hand within fifty feet of the brow of the 
mountain, with which it is connected by covered 
ways ten feet wide, whose floors are level with 
the cellars, and whose flat roofs form promenades 
nearly level with the first floor of the dwelling. 
These, turning at right angles at the brow and 
widening to twenty feet, extend one hundred feet, 
and terminate in one-story pavilions twenty feet 
square, the space beneath the terraces being used 
for business offices. 

From the northern terrace the view is superb. 
Here Jefferson and his guests were accustomed 
to sit in the summer evenings until bedtime. Here 
perhaps has been assembled more patriotism, wis 
dom, and learning than in any other garden in 
America. 

The mansion is of the Doric order of Grecian 
architecture, with heavy cornices and massive bal 
ustrades. The interior is in the Ionic style. The 
front hall recedes six feet within the wall of the 
building, and a portico, the full height of the 
house, projects twenty-five feet with stone pillars 
and steps. The hall is also the full height of the 
house and passages leading off to other parts of the 
building terminate in octagonal apartments, leav 
ing recesses on three equal sides. Piazzas pro- 

94 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

ject six feet beyond; their roofs, being the height 
of the house, rest on brick arches. The northern 
piazza connects the house with the public terrace, 
while the southern is sashed in for a greenhouse. 
East of the central passage, on each side of the 
hall, are lodging-rooms, this front being one and 
a half stories. On the west front the rooms occupy 
the whole height, making the house one story, 
except the parlor or central room, which is sur 
mounted by an octagonal story with a dome. This 
was designed for a billiard-room, but before com 
pletion a law was passed prohibiting public and 
private billiard-tables in Virginia. It was to have 
been approached by stairways connected with a 
gallery at the inner extremity of the hall which 
communicates with the lodging-rooms on either 
side above, but the use designed for the room 
being prohibited, the stairways were never 
erected. 

The parlor projects twenty feet beyond the body 
of the house and is covered by a portico. The 
original plan of the projection was square; but 
when the cellar was built up to the floor above, 
the room was extended beyond the square by three 
sides of an octagon, leaving a place next to the 
cellar wall not excavated where the faithful Caesar 
and Martin concealed their master s plate when 
the British visited Monticello in 1814. The floor 
of this room is in squares of wild cherry, very 
hard, susceptible of a high polish, and the color 
of mahogany. The border of each square, four 
inches wide, is of light-colored beech. After nearly 
seventy years of use and abuse, a half hour s dust 
ing and brushing will make it look like a handsome 
tessellated floor. 

Monticello was the finest mansion in that section 
of the State. Its hospitality was famous, particu- 

95 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

larly its dinners and wines, and so were the 
balls given there in the early days. The ball-room 
does not suggest the conventional ideas of Jeffer- 
sonian simplicity. It is a stately apartment, with 
Pompeiian decorations in the frieze and a lofty 
ceiling. The dining-room is preserved as he left 
it and is equally appropriate to a man of his tastes, 
position and wealth. It has a curious dumb-waiter 
for hoisting wine but too small to carry more 
than one bottle. The hall is typical of hospital 
ity, high, spacious, and well lighted, with a gal 
lery under the ceiling from which the ladies could 
observe the receptions which Jefferson frequently 
gave. It furnished a retired place for the band 
when he had a ball. The library is not large, and 
Jefferson must have scattered his thirteen thousand 
books which Congress bought throughout the 
building. Tradition says that he kept many of 
them in the billiard-room, which is over tlie grand 
parlor. A billiard-room does not conform to 
democratic simplicity more readily than liveried 
servants, silver plate, and a wine-cellar. Imbedded 
in the ceiling of the wide portico is a curious com 
pass, by which the guests of the house could tell 
the geographical directions, and over the main en 
trance is an ugly old church-clock. 

The stairways, unlike those usually found in the 
colonial mansions of Virginia, are narrow, steep, 
and crooked, and the story goes that the body of 
Mrs. Jefferson, who died in one of the upper 
chambers, could not be carried down. The coffin 
had to be lowered with ropes from the gallery of 
the great hall. Jefferson died in a room on the 
first floor, which is arranged in a peculiar way. 
The bed was placed in a low archway between two 
rooms and fitted very closely. One of the rooms 
belonged to Jefferson, the other to his wife, and 

96 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

they appear to have kept their own apartments 
as long as she lived. He undressed himself in 
his room and crawled into bed; and crawled out 
on the same side in the morning. She dressed 
and undressed in her own room and crept in and 
out of her own side of the same bed. 

The house at Monticello was thirty-two years 
in building. Begun in 1770, it was not finished 
until 1802, and cost, altogether, according to Jef 
ferson s account-books, about seven thousand two 
hundred dollars. The bricks were not imported, 
as many suppose, but were made on the ground 
by Jefferson s own slaves. The ornamental mate 
rial was brought from Philadelphia by water to 
Richmond and then hauled over in carts, but the 
frame, the flooring, and most of the wood-work 
was made from timber cut and dressed on the 
place. Every nail was made on the place by hand, 
forged by his own colored boys. 

It is not true that Jefferson escaped from his 
house through an underground passage when the 
British soldiers appeared, as is commonly stated 
in his biographies. There is an underground pas 
sage communicating with the slave quarters, and 
it was used by them, but the circumstances of 
Jefferson s escape are familiar by tradition to all 
the old residents. 

A man named Jack Jouett, who kept a hotel in 
Charlottesville, was passing through a neighboring 
village when it was attacked by Major Tarleton s 
army. He rode rapidly home, warned the Virginia 
Legislature, which was in session at Charlottes 
ville, and then went to Monticello to advise Jeffer 
son. The latter was unconcerned as to his danger, 
but saddled his horse, took his sword-cane and a 
pair of field-glasses, and rode to the top of Carter s 
Mountain, which rises about one thousand feet 
7 97 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

behind Monticello. There he remained nearly all 
day, watching the approaches to Charlottesville, 
but could see nothing of the enemy, and towards 
night started to return to his home. He had not 
gone far before he noticed that he had lost his 
cane and rode back for it. As he dismounted to 
pick it up from the ground he took one more 
look through his glasses and saw the whole val 
ley swarming with redcoats. He rode down 
the other side of the mountain hastily and took 
refuge in a neighboring county, where he had an 
estate. 

When the advance-guard of the British troops 
arrived the butler was hiding the silver under the 
floor of the dining-room. He had torn up some 
of the boards, and as the army came nearer dropped 
down into the cellar with the silver, while the 
other servants replaced the planking. He lay there 
thirty-six hours without food, guarding it. Major 
Tartleton remained at Monticello about twenty- 
four hours, and lodged there, but he had the place 
well protected and no harm was done. 

A charming picture of Monticello and its inmates 
is found in " Travels in North America," by .the 
Marquis de Chastellux, an accomplished French 
nobleman who visited Jefferson. After describing 
his approach to the foot of the mountains he says : 
"It was a debt Nature owed to a philosopher, 
and a man of taste, that in his own possessions 
he should find a spot where he might best study 
and enjoy her. He calls his house Monticello (in 
Italian "Little Mountain"), a very modest title, 
for it is situated upon a very lofty one, but which 
announces the owner s attachment to the language 
of Italy; and, above all, to the fine arts, of which 
that country was the cradle and is still the asylum. 
My object in this short description is only to show 

98 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

the difference between this and the other houses 
of the country, for we may safely aver that Mr. 
Jefferson is the first American who has consulted 
the fine arts to know how he should shelter him 
self from the weather." 

The Duke la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, lieuten 
ant-general of France, and once president of the 
National Assembly, spent a month at Monticello 
as Jefferson s guest during his exile, and gives an 
interesting account of his visit. He says that 
Monticello " is infinitely superior to all other 
houses in America in point of taste and conveni 
ence, and deserves to be ranked with the most 
pleasant mansions in France and England," and 
then he gives us the following picture of Jefferson 
at home : 

" In private life, Mr. Jefferson displays a mild, 
easy and obliging temper, though he is somewhat 
cold and reserved. His conversation is of the most 
agreeable kind, and he possesses a stock of infor 
mation not inferior to that of any other man. In 
Europe he would hold a distinguished rank among 
men of letters, and as such he has already ap 
peared there. At present he is employed with 
activity and perseverance in the management of 
his farms and buildings; and he orders, directs, 
and pursues in the minutest details every branch 
of business relative to them. I found him in the 
midst of the harvest, from which the scorching 
heat of the sun does not prevent his attendance. 
His negroes are nourished, clothed, and treated 
as well as white servants could be. As he can not 
expect any assistance from the two small neighbor 
ing towns, every article is made on his farm ; his 
negroes are cabinetmakers, carpenters, masons, 
bricklayers, smiths, etc. The children he employs 
in a nail factory, which yields already a consider- 

99 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

able profit. The young and old negresses spin for 
the clothing of the rest. He animates them by 
rewards and distinctions ; in fine, his superior mind 
directs the management of his domestic concerns 
with the same abilities, activity and regularity 
which he evinced in the conduct of public affairs 
and which he is calculated to display in every situa 
tion of life. In the superintendence of his house 
hold he is assisted by his two daughters, Mrs. 
Randolph and Miss Maria, who are handsome, 
modest, and amiable women. They have been 
educated in France." 

In the summer of 1825 the monotonous life at 
Monticello was broken in upon by the arrival of 
General Lafayette to take leave of his distinguished 
friend, Jefferson, preparatory to his return to 
France. A dinner was given to him by the pro 
fessors and students of the university, at which 
Madison and Monroe were present, but Jefferson 
was too feeble to attend. It is not often that 
so distinguished a company has gathered at a 
farmhouse as the three ex-Presidents and their 
guest. 

Bacon says : " It used to be very interesting to 
the people to see three ex-Presidents together. I 
have often seen them meet at Charlottesville on 
Court Day, and stand and talk together a few min 
utes, and crowds of people would gather around 
them and listen to their conversation and follow 
them wherever they would go." 

The lawn on the eastern side of the house at Mon 
ticello contains not quite an acre. On this spot was 
the meeting of Jefferson and Lafayette, as described 
by Mrs. Randolph, who says : " The barouche con 
taining Lafayette stopped at the end of this lawn. 
His escort one hundred and twenty mounted men 
formed on one side in a semicircle extending 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

from the carriage to the house. A crowd of about 
two hundred men, who were drawn together by 
curiosity to witness the meeting of these two ven 
erable men, formed themselves in a semicircle on 
the opposite side. As Lafayette descended from 
the carriage, Jefferson descended to the steps of 
the portico. The scene which followed was touch 
ing. Jefferson was feeble and tottering with age 
Lafayette permanently lamed and broken in health 
by his long confinement in the dungeon of Olmutz. 
As they approached each other, their uncertain 
gait quickened itself into a shuffling run, and ex 
claiming, Ah, Jefferson ! Ah, Lafayette ! they 
burst into tears as they fell into each other s arms. 
Among the four hundred men witnessing the scene 
there was not a dry eye no sound save an occa 
sional suppressed sob. The two old men entered 
the house as the crowd dispersed in profound si 
lence." 

" Mr. Jefferson was the most industrious per 
son I ever saw in my life," continues Bacon. " I 
never went into his room but twice in the whole 
twenty years I was with him that I did not find 
him employed. I never saw him sitting idle in 
his room but twice. Once he was suffering from 
a toothache; and once in returning from his 
Bedford farm, he had slept in a room where 
some of the glass had been broken out of the 
window, and the wind had blown upon him and 
given him a kind of neuralgia. At all other 
times he was either reading, writing, talking, 
working upon some model or doing something 
else. 

" I have heard him tell them enough of times 
that nobody should live without some useful em 
ployment. He told them my boys had got twenty 
dollars more money than any of them had got; 

101 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

that they had earned it themselves, and said a great 
deal in their praise, and in regard to the impor 
tance of industrious habits, Merriweather Lewis 
was a very bright little fellow. He spoke up and 
said : If we should work like Fielding and 
Thomas, our hands would get so rough and sore 
that we could not hold our books. And we need 
not work so. We shall be rich, and all we want 
is a good education, so that we shall be prepared 
to associate with wealthy and intelligent people. 
1 Ah ! said Mr. Jefferson, and I have thought of 
the remark a thousand times since, those that ex 
pect to get through the world without industry, 
because they are rich, will be greatly mistaken. 
The people that do the work will soon get posses 
sion of all their property/ 

The parents of Edward Coles, the first Governor 
of Illinois, were near neighbors and intimate 
friends of the Jeffersons. For Mrs. Coles, who 
was a woman of great personal and intellectual 
attraction, Jefferson showed great affection, which 
was inherited by her son. He was Jefferson s 
protege, was assisted by him to obtain an educa 
tion at William and Mary College, graduated in 
the class of 1807, served for a time as his private 
secretary and afterwards as private secretary to 
President Madison upon his recommendation, and 
through Jefferson s influence was made Governor 
of Illinois. 

Towards the close of the year 1824 Daniel Web 
ster visited Monticello and spent a day or two there. 
He has left us an account of this visit, containing 
the most minute and interesting description ever 
printed of Jefferson s personal appearance, style 
of dress, and habits. He says : 

" Mr. Jefferson is now between eighty-one and 
eighty-two, above six feet high, of an ample long 

102 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

frame, rather thin and spare. His head, which is 
not peculiar in its shape, is set rather forward on 
his shoulders; and his neck being rather long, 
there is, when he is walking or conversing, an 
habitual protrusion of it. It is still well covered 
with hair, which, having been once red, and now 
turning gray, is of an indistinct sandy color. His 
eyes are small, very light, and now neither bril 
liant nor striking. His chin is rather long but not 
pointed. His nose small, regular in its outlines, 
and the nostrils a little elevated. His mouth is 
well formed, and still filled with teeth; it is 
strongly compressed, wearing an expression of 
contentment and benevolence. His complexion, 
formerly light and freckled, now bears the marks 
of age and cutaneous affection. His limbs are un 
commonly long, his hands and feet very large, 
and his wrists of an extraordinary size. His dress, 
when in the house, is a gray surtout coat, kersey 
mere stuff waistcoat, with an under one faced with 
some material of dingy red. His pantaloons are 
very long and loose, and of the same color as his 
coat. His stockings are woolen, either white or 
gray; and his shoes of the kind that bear his 
name. His whole dress is very much neglected 
but not slovenly. He wears a common round hat. 
His dress, when on horseback, is a gray, straight- 
bodied coat, and a spencer of the same material, 
both fastened with large pearl buttons. When we 
first saw him he was riding; and in addition to 
the above articles of apparel, wore around his 
throat a knit white woolen tippet in the place of 
a cravat, and black velvet gaiters under his panta 
loons. His general appearance indicates an extra 
ordinary degree of health, vivacity and spirit. His 
sight is still good, for he needs glasses only in 
the evening. His hearing is generally good, but 

103 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

a number of voices in animated conversation con 
fuse it. 

" Mr. Jefferson rises in the morning as soon as 
he can see the hands of his clock, which is directly 
opposite his bed, and examines his thermometer 
immediately, as he keeps a regular meteorological 
diary. He employs himself chiefly in writing until 
breakfast, which is at nine. From that time till 
dinner he is in his library, excepting that in fair 
weather he rides on horseback from seven to four 
teen miles. Dines at four, returns to the drawing 
room at six, when coffee is brought in, and passes 
the evening in conversation until nine. His habit 
of retiring at that hour is so strong that it has 
become essential to his health and comfort. His 
diet is simple, but he seems restrained only by his 
taste. His breakfast is tea and coffee, bread always 
fresh from the oven, of which he does not seem 
afraid, with sometimes, a slight accompaniment of 
cold meat. He enjoys his dinner well, taking with 
his meat a large proportion of vegetables. He has 
a strong preference for the wines of the Continent, 
of which he has many sorts of excellent quality, 
having been more than commonly successful in his 
mode of importing and preserving them." 

Webster s narrative did not please the family, 
and Mrs. Coolidge, a granddaughter, took occa 
sion to correct his account of Jefferson s personal 
appearance. She said: 

" His dress was simple, and adapted to his ideas 
of neatness and comfort. He paid little attention 
to fashion, wearing whatever he liked best, and 
sometimes blending the fashions of several different 
periods. He wore long waistcoats, when the mode 
was for very short ; white cambric stocks fastened 
behind with a buckle, when cravats were universal. 
He adopted the pantaloons very late in life, be- 

104 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

cause he found it more comfortable and convenient, 
and cut off his queue for the same reason. He 
made no change except from motives of the same 
kind, and did nothing to be in conformity with the 
fashion of the day. He considered such indepen 
dence as the privilege of his age." 

Monticello is preserved with thoughtful and 
patriotic solicitude by Mr. Jefferson Levy, the pres 
ent owner, who is a New York lawyer and served 
a term in Congress. After the Sage of Monti- 
cello died his daughter, Mrs. Randolph, was left 
destitute, and being unable to keep up appearances 
upon property that was unproductive, traded it 
to a man named Barkley for a modest brick house 
in Charlottesville. Barkley carried on a desperate 
struggle for years, but the land was worn out, 
and he had not capital enough to replenish it, so 
he offered it for sale. 

According to the local traditions, Commodore 
Levy, who was then on the retired list of the navy, 
while in Boston learned that Mr. T. Jefferson Cool- 
idge, a son of Ellen Randolph, Jefferson s grand 
daughter, was negotiating for the purchase of 
Monticello. The commodore was a great admirer 
of Jefferson, as well as a man of enterprise, so 
he jumped on the cars, rushed to Charlottesville, 
and bought the place for ten thousand dollars. 
Several times thereafter he offered it to the govern 
ment and to various patriotic societies, but his 
price was too high. As will be seen, he even found 
it difficult to get rid of when he died. 

A full-length portrait of Commodore Levy hangs 
in the great hall at Monticello. In his hand he 
holds a scroll upon which is inscribed an announce 
ment that he abolished flogging in the United 
States navy, but the naval authorities award that 
honor to Commodore Robert Field Stockton, who 

105 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

was not only a seaman, but a statesman. Stockton 
commanded the United States fleet in the Pacific 
during the Mexican War, and was the first Gov 
ernor of California. In 1851 he resigned from 
the navy and was elected to the United States 
Senate from New Jersey, where he made it his 
business to secure the enactment of a law prohibit 
ing the corporeal punishment of sailors. Never 
theless, Commodore Levy is believed to have an 
ticipated this law by forbidding flogging upon the 
ships in his fleet. 

Comrnodore Levy presented to Congress the 
bronze statue of Jefferson now in the Capitol, and 
when he died he bequeathed the estate of Monti- 
cello to the government of the United States as a 
home and school for the children of warrant offi 
cers of the navy. If the government would not 
accept, it was offered to the State of Virginia 
under the same conditions. If the State refused, 
it was bequeathed to the rabbi and congregation 
of a synagogue in Richmond, with a sum of money 
for charitable purposes. The United States de 
clined the responsibility, and the heirs at law con 
tested the will. When the case came to trial in 
New York in 1862 the war was on, so that neither 
the State of Virginia nor the Richmond synagogue 
was represented. The court ordered the property 
sold at auction, Jefferson Levy, a nephew and one 
of the heirs, bid it in, and the proceeds were di 
vided with the rest of the estate. 

Jefferson frankly confessed that he was a failure 
as a farmer. " I am, indeed, an unskillful manager 
of my farms," he wrote in 1816, " and sensible of 
this from its effects I have now committed them 
to better hands," his grandson, Thomas Jefferson 
Randolph. " On returning home after an absence 
of ten years I found my farms so much deranged 

106 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

that I saw evidently they would be a burden to 
me instead of a support till I could regenerate 
them; and, consequently, that it was necessary 
for me to find some other resource in the mean 
time. I thought for a while of taking up the 
manufacture of potash, which requires but small 
advances of money. I concluded at length, how 
ever, to begin a manufacture of nails, which needs 
little or no capital, and I now employ a dozen little 
boys from ten to sixteen years of age, overlooking 
all the details of their business myself, and drawing 
from it a profit on which I can get along till I 
can put my farms into a course of. yielding profit. 
My new trade of nail-making is to me in this coun 
try what an additional title of nobility or the en 
signs of a new order are in Europe." 

Bacon says that Jefferson always knew all about 
everything on the plantation. " He knew the name 
of every tree, just when one was dead or needed 
nursing." He even told Bacon what pigs to kill, 
for he had names for them all. 

In his letters he gives the most minute instruc 
tions, not only concerning what is to be done, but 
by whom and how to do it. He had his own ways 
and was very tenacious as to details. He planned 
for each field. " A part of the field," he once 
wrote, naming it, " is to be planted in quarantine 
corn, which will be found in a tin cannister in 
my closet. This corn is to be in drills five feet 
apart and the stocks eighteen inches asunder in 
the drills. The rest of the ground is to be sown 
in oats and red clover sowed on the oats. All 
plowing is to be done horizontally as Mr. Ran 
dolph does his," and he assigns the slaves to their 
labor : " Joe will work with Mr. Stewart ; John 
Hennings and Lewis will work with Mr. Dins- 
more; Stewart and Joe will do plantation work, 

107 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

and when Stewart gets into his idle frolics it may 
sometimes be well for Moses or Isabel s Davy 
to join Joe. Davy and Abram may patch up the 
old garden pales when work is going on from 
which they can be spared." 

" As soon as the aspen trees lose their leaves," 
he says in another letter, " take up one or two 
hundred of the young trees, tie them into bundles 
with their roots well covered with Straw. Young 
Davy is to carry Fanny to Washington. Three 
boxes in my study marked go by Fanny and her 
things. She must take corn for the mules and 
provisions for themselves to Washington. The 
Nailors are to work on the dam till finished and 
then go to the shop when the work on the mill is 
done and the fence mended, take as much time 
as you with your hands as will fill all the gullies 
in the north field." 

In another letter : " The orchard below the 
garden must be entirely cultivated next year, to 
wit, a part in ravens kroft pea, which you will 
find in a cannister in my closet; a part with Irish 
potatoes; the rest with cow peas of which there 
is a patch at Mr. Freeman s, to save which great 
attention should be paid as they are the last in 
the neighborhood. Wormley must cover the fig 
bushes with straw rope. Keep the thorns con 
stantly clean wed. Stop the leak under the bridge 
just above the waste. Rake and sweep the char 
coal on its level into little heaps and carry them off. 
Do this when the grass seed is ripe." 

Thus writes the President of the United Stages 
to his overseer in the midst of controversies over 
the Constitution, the finances, the annexation of 
territory, and complications with foreign powers, 
and then holds him to strict accountability in fol 
lowing every detail. Bacon says that Jefferson 

1 08 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

never forgot an order he had given to one of his 
men, and "never failed to remember the man he 
gave it to, so that no matter how long a time might 
pass, no one could shirk responsibility." 

" Mr. Jefferson was very particular in the trans 
action of all his business," he says. " He kept 
an account of everything. Nothing was too small 
for him to keep an account of. He knew exactly 
how much of everything was raised at each planta 
tion, and what became of it; how much was sold 
and how much fed out. I reported to Mr. Jeffer 
son every dollar that I received and just what I 
paid it out for. The first day of every January 
I gave him a full list of all the servants, stock 
and everything on the place, so that he could see 
exactly what had been the gain or loss. In all 
his business transactions with people he had every 
thing put down in writing so that there was no 
chance for any misunderstanding. Nearly all the 
families in Milton were supplied with firewood 
from Mr. Jefferson s estate. They paid him five 
dollars a year for what wood they would burn in 
a fireplace. Mr. Jefferson wrote a blank form for 
me and I made a written contract with all the 
people who got their firewood from this place 
and once a year I went around and made collec 
tions. 

" Whenever I engaged an overseer for him or 
any kind of a mechanic, I always made a written 
contract with him that stated just what he was 
to do and just what pay he was to receive. In 
this way he avoided all difficulties with the men 
he employed. Here is one : 

" It is agreed between Thomas Jefferson and Richard 
Durrett, both of the county of Albemarle, that the said Dur- 
rett shall serve the said Jefferson one year as a carpenter. 
And the said Durrett does by these presents oblige himself 
to do whatever work the said Jefferson shall require in the 

109 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

business of carpenter work; and the said Durrett shall take 
charge of the said Jefferson s employ; for which year s 
service the said Jefferson agrees to pay the said Durrett 
forty pounds and to find him four hundred and fifty pounds 
of pork and a peck of corn meal a week ; or, in case the 
said Durrett should have three in family, the said Jefferson 
agrees to find him three pecks a week, and to find him a 
cow to give milk from April isth to I5th November. As 
witness our hands this 28th of October, 1812. " 



In 1800 a census was taken, the results of which, 
with his habitual care, Jefferson records in his 
diary : 



"1800 

Aug. 23 Census of my family now given in : 

Males free white under 10 2 females do 2 = 4 

of 10 & under 16 I o I 

of 16 & under 26 3 14 

26 and under 45 I o I 

45 and upward I o I 

All other free persons o 

Slaves 93 

104 



Jefferson must have parted with or lost many 
slaves during the year preceding this census, be 
cause another memorandum in his handwriting 
shows that in the winter of 1798-9 he had one 
hundred and forty-one slaves, but such an aged lot 
of negroes as they were must sooner or later have 
ruined any farmer. Fifty of them were over 
ninety years of age, and of the entire one hundred 
and forty-one only eleven were certainly under 
fifty. Between 1784 and 1794 he gave sixty-six 
slaves to his children. 

His expenses as set down in his account-books 
are regularly analyzed at the close of the quarter 
or the year, sometimes both, and the results given 
in separate tables; as, for instance, at the close 

no 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

of the first quarter of the year 1791 we find under 
date of April 8 the following : 

"Analysis of Expenditures of the last quarter from 
Jan 8 to April 8 inclusive : 

"House rent. . . 115.58 Receipts. 

Stable expenses 96.85 D. 

Servants .... 65. 5 Jan 7 Salary . . 875* 

Dress 70.82 Feby 4 Hopkinson 120 

Washing .... 20.23 16 Johnson . 31.55 

Stores 69.65 April 4 Salary . . 875 

Baker 11.76 Errors . . 5.71 

Grocer 35.21 Iqo7 2 6" 

Market .... 88.39 

Wood 70.81 

Furniture . . . 271.38 

Arrearages p d up 552.65 

Contingencies . 260.22 

Total paid . . 1729.05 

Cash in hand . 64.53 

In bank . . . 113.68 
1907.26 

It is worth noting as an illustration of Jefferson s 
system of financial management that he is com 
pelled to include in this account two quarters 
salary to balance the expenses of a single quarter. 
His expense-books have more the character of 
diaries than of account-books. They are full of 
memoranda which have nothing to do with his 
finances, for example: 



" Mr Remsen tells me that 6 cord of hiccory last a fire 
place well the winter. 

" Myrtle candles of last year out. 

" Pd Farren an impudent surcharge for Venet n blinds 
2.66. 

" Borrowed of M r Maddison order on bank for i5oD. 

" Enclosed to D. Rittenhouse, Liepers note of 238" D out 
of which he is to pay for equatorial instrument for me. 

" Hitzeimer says that a horse well fed with grain re 
quires 100 Ib of hay and without grain 130 Ib. 

" T. N. Randolph has had 9 galls whiskey for his harvest. 
in 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

" My first pipe of Termo is out begun soon after I came 
home to live from Philadelphia. 

" Reed from Rand. Jefferson a negro boy Ben, Peters son 
who is to be valued by John Coles & James Cooke & I am to 
pay the valuation to Donald & Co in discharge of their acct 
agt him. 

" Agreed with Robt. Chuning to serve me as overseer at 
Monticello for 25 and 600 Ib pork he is to come Dec. I. 

" Agreed with Bohlen to give 300 livres tournois for 

my bust made by Ceracchi if he shall agree to take that 
sum. . 

" Col. Coles & Mr Cooke have valued the two boys I 
bought from Randolph Jefferson, Carey & Ben at 155. 

" My daughter Maria married this day. 
" March 16 The first shad at this market to-day 

28 The weeping willow shows the green leaf 
" April 9 Asparagus come to table 
10 Apricots blossom. 

12 Genl. Thaddeus Kosciusko puts into my hands 
a Warrant of the Treasury for 3684.540 to 
have bills of exchange bought for him. 

" March 8 Tea out, the pound has lasted exactly 7 weeks, 
used 6 times a week ; this is ^ 8 T or .4 of an oz. a time for a 
single person. A pound of tea making 126 cups costs 2D, 
126 cups or ounces of coffee = 8 Ib cost 1.6. 

"March 18 On trial it takes n dwt Troy of double 
refined maple sugar to a dish of coffee, or i Ib avoirdupois 
to 26.5 dishes so that at 20 cents p r Ib it is 8 mills per dish. 
An ounce of coffee @ 20 cents p r Ib is 12.5 mills so that 
sugar and coffee of a dish is worth 2 cents." 



Among his papers is a leaf thus entitled: 
" Statement of the vegetable market of Washing 
ton during a period of eight years, wherein the 
earliest and latest appearance of each article within 
the whole eight years was noted." One small 
page suffices, but it is complete; the list embraces 
thirty-seven articles carefully set down by the 
President of the United States. 

In 1792 Jefferson asked " the favor of Mr. Hol- 
lingsworth to look out for a person in his neigh 
borhood who would be willing to go to Virginia 
and overlook a farm for me," and was informed 
that Samuel Biddle would undertake the job for 
a hundred and twenty dollars a year. Jefferson 

112 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

said that the wages were a good deal higher than 
he expected to pay, but he consents to give them 
providing Mr. Biddle will look after some matters 
" beyond the lines of the farm/ and says " the 
farm is of about 5 or 600 acres of cleared land, 
very hilly, originally as rich as any highlands in 
the world, but much worried by Indian corn and 
tobacco. It is still however very strong, & re 
markably friendly to wheat & rye. These will 
be my first object. Next will be grasses, cattle, 
sheep & the introduction of potatoes for the use 
of the farm instead of Indian corn, in as great a 
degree as possible. You will have from 12 to 
15 laborers under you. They will be well clothed, 
and as well fed as your management of the farm 
will enable us, for it is chiefly with a view to place 
them on the comfortable footing of the laborers 
of other countries, that I come into another coun 
try to seek an overlooker for them, as also to have 
my lands a little more taken care of. For these 
purposes I have long banished tobacco, & wish 
to do the same by Indian corn in a great degree. 
The house wherein you will live will be about a 
half a mile from my own. You will of course 
keep bachelor s house. It is usual with us to give 
a fixed allowance of pork; I shall much rather 
substitute beef and mutton, as I consider pork to be 
as destructive an article in a farm as Indian corn." 

In discussing the advantages of rotation of crops 
Jefferson says, " my rotation is as follows : 

" i. Wheat, followed the same year by turneps, 
to be fed on by the sheep. 

" 2. Corn & potatoes mixed, & in autumn the 
vetch to be used as fodder in the spring if wanted, 
or to be turned in as a dressing. 

" 3. Peas or potatoes, or both according to the 
quality of the field. 

8 113 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

" 4. Rye and clover sown on it in the spring. 
Wheat may be substituted here for rye, when it 
shall be found that the 2d, 3d, 5th, & 6th, fields 
will subsist the farm. 

" 5. Clover. 

" 6. Clover, & in autumn turn it in & sow the 
vetch. 

" 7. Turn in the vetch in the spring, then sow 
buckwheat & turn that in, having hurdled off the 
poorest spots for cowpenning. In autumn sow 
wheat to begin the circle again. 

" I am for throwing the whole force of my hus 
bandry on the wheat field, because it is the only one 
which is sure to market to produce money. Per 
haps the clover may bring in something in the 
form of stock. The other fields are merely for the 
consumption of the farm. 

" The first step towards the recovery of our 
lands is to find substitutes for corn & bacon. I 
count on potatoes, clover & sheep. The two former 
to feed every animal on the farm except my ne 
groes, & the latter to feed them, diversified with 
rations of salt fish and molasses both of them 
wholesome, agreeable & cheap articles of food." 

Eight bushels of wheat to the acre is not success 
ful agriculture, although wheat sold in Richmond 
at two dollars and a half a bushel. Jefferson 
boasted that the wheat grown upon his mountain 
slopes was whiter than the low country wheat, and 
averaged five or six pounds heavier to the bushel. 
His method of farming was this : " When the 
forest was first cleared, laying bare the rich, deep, 
black virgin soil, the slow accumulation of ages 
of growth and decay, tobacco was grown for five 
successive years. That broke the heart of the 
land and it was allowed to rest for a while. Then 
tobacco was raised again until the crop ceased to 

114 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

be remunerative; and then the fields were aban 
doned to nature. They sowed wheat in the virgin 
soil among the stumps ; next year corn, then wheat, 
then corn again; and maintained this rotation as 
long as they could gather a harvest of five bushels 
of wheat or ten bushels of corn to the acre; after 
which Nature was permitted to have her way, 
and new lands were cleared for spoilation." There 
was then no lack of land for the application of 
this method of exhaustion. Out of Jefferson s 
five thousand five hundred and ninety-one acres 
and two-thirds in Albemarle, less than twelve hun 
dred were usually under cultivation. His estate 
of Poplar Forest was nearly as large, but only 
eight hundred acres were cleared. All the arts by 
which the wise farmer contrives to give back to his 
fields a little more than he takes from them were 
neglected, and the strenuous force of the slaves was 
squandered in an endless endeavor to make good 
the sacrifice of the fields by the sacrifice of the 
forests. 

Nevertheless Jefferson was progressive in his 
ideas, and spent a great deal of pains and money 
in introducing new plants and fine stock from 
Europe. He brought a cargo of olive plants 
from Marseilles, and boxes of seeds which he sent 
to Charleston. He also introduced caper plants, 
and wrote many letters to the people of South 
Carolina urging them to adopt olive culture. He 
sent home trees and shrubbery from Washington. 
Bacon says : " I used to send a servant there with 
a great many fine things from Monticello for his 
table, and he would send back the cart loaded with 
shrubbery from a nursery near Georgetown, that 
belonged to a man named Maine, and ^he would 
always send me directions what to do with it. 

" Mr. Jefferson was very fond of all kinds of 
"5 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

good stock," continues Bacon. " The first full 
blooded Merino sheep in all that country was im 
ported by Mr. Jefferson for himself and Mr. Madi 
son, while he was President. When I got home 
I put a notice in the paper at Charlottesville that 
persons who wished to improve their stock could 
send us two ewes, and we would keep them till 
the lambs were old enough to wean, and then give 
the owners the choice of the lambs and they leave 
the other lamb and both of the ewes. We got 
the greatest lot of sheep, more than we wanted; 
two or three hundred I think; and in a few years 
we had an immense flock. People came a long 
distance to buy our full blooded sheep. At first 
we sold them for fifty dollars, but they soon fell 
to thirty and twenty ; and before I left Mr. Jeffer 
son Merino sheep were so numerous that they sold 
about as cheap as the common ones. Some years 
afterwards he imported from Barbary, I think, 
four large broad tailed sheep. I have forgotten 
their names. He sent these from Washington in 
his own wagon, which had gone there with a load 
from Monticello. These sheep made very fine 
mutton, but they were not popular did not dis 
seminate and ran out in a few years. 

" About the time the first sheep were imported," 
continues the ex-overseer, " Mr. Jefferson im 
ported six hogs, a pair for himself, Mr. Madison 
and General Dearborn, one of his secretaries. 
Those imported hogs were the finest hogs I have 
ever known. They were called Calcutta hogs. 
They were black on the heads and rumps and 
white listed around the body. They were very 
long bodied with short legs; were easily kept, 
would live on grazing, and would scarcely ever 
root. They would not root much more than an 
ox. With common pasturage they would weigh 

116 



JEFFERSON AS A FARMER 

two hundred at a year old, and fed with corn 
and well treated they would weigh three or four 
hundred. Mr. Jefferson didn t care about making 
money from his imported stock. His great object 
was to get it widely scattered over the country 
and he left all these arrangements to me. I told 
the people to bring three sows and when they came 
for them, they might take two and leave one. In 
this way we soon got a large number of hogs and 
the stock was scattered over the whole country. 
He never imported any cattle while I was with 
him. We could always get remarkably fine cattle 
from West Virginia. 

" But the horse was Mr. Jefferson s favorite. 
He was passionately fond of a good horse. We 
generally worked mules on the plantation, but he 
would not ride or drive anything but a high bred 
horse. Bay was his preference for color. He 
would not have any other. After he came from 
Washington he had a fine carriage built at Monti- 
cello, from a model that he planned himself. The 
woodworking, blacksmithing and painting were 
all done by his own workmen. He had the plating 
done in Richmond. When he travelled in this car 
riage, he always had five horses, four in the car 
riage and the fifth for Burwell who always rode 
behind him. Those five horses were Diomede, 
Brimmer, Tecumseh, Wellington and Eagle. In 
his new carriage with fine harness those four horses 
made a fine appearance. He never trusted a driver 
with the lines. Two servants rode on horseback 
and each guided his own pair. About once a year 
Mr. Jefferson used to go in his carnage to Mont- 
pellier and spend several days with Mr. Madison; 
and every summer he went to Poplar Forest his 
farm in Bedford, and spent two or three months." 

Mr. Jefferson always knew all about all his stock, 
117 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

as well as everything else at Monticello, and gave 
special directions about it. He writes : 

"If Arcturus has not been exchanged for Mr. 
Smithson s mare I wish him and the Chickasaw 
mare to be disposed of immediately. I would take 
a fair wagon horse or mule for either rather than 
keep them. For Arcturus we ought certainly to 
get a first rate wagon horse or mule. Jerry and 
his wagon are to go to Bedford before Christmas. 
He is to start on the morning of Saturday, the 
2Oth of December, and take with him a bull calf 
from Mr. Randolph, and the young ram which 
we have saved for that purpose. He is to proceed 
to my brother s the first day, and stay there the 
Sunday. He will take in there some things lodged 
there last year ; to wit, a pair of fowls, some clover 
seed and some cow peas, and proceed with them to 
Poplar Forest." 



118 




t^^^^ 



efl f*h- 

*J <*s* 
C*^>- 



FAC-SIMII.K OF JEFFERSON S INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING 
HIS MONUMENT 



IV 

AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

FEW men write their own epitaphs, but it was 
like Thomas Jefferson to do so, and from the long 
inventory of his honors and achievements he se 
lected three items by which he wished to be judged 
by his Maker and his fellow-men. He discarded 
all the honors that had been conferred upon him, 
ignored all the offices he had filled, and simply 
inscribed upon his tomb the fact that he had written 
the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia 
Statute for Religious Liberty, and had .founded 
the University of Virginia. In making this selec 
tion Jefferson showed remarkable insight into his 
own character and estimated with remarkable ac 
curacy the verdict of posterity upon his public 
services. No one ever questioned the purity of his 
patriotism in the important part he played during 
the period of history that preceded the Revolution ; 
and in the century of controversy over his acts 
and utterances his unselfishness and nobility of pur 
pose in securing religious freedom and in founding 
an educational institution for his State have never 
been doubted. No other incidents in his career 
are so free from criticism and so untainted by 
political partisanship. 

No doubt the Declaration of Independence would 
be torn to tatters by the critics if it were presented 
to Congress as an original document to-day. Its 
literary style would be condemned, the accuracy 
of its statements would be disputed, and it would 

119 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

never be adopted or endorsed by either house of 
Congress without thorough revision; for there 
has been a decided change in literary taste and 
style since Jefferson s day. Fashions in litera 
ture change almost as rapidly as in clothing. The 
Declaration of Independence as a literary pro 
duction was quite as perfect and appropriate for 
its time as the garments worn by the members 
of the Continental Congress. It was severely 
handled when it was submitted, and during the 
three subsequent days of debate Jefferson was mor 
tified almost beyond endurance at the savage man 
ner in which his fine phrases and lofty ideas were 
assailed. It has been criticised as " a mass of 
platitudes, plagiarized from various authors;" 
but the stately simplicity of the Lord s Prayer 
and the Sermon on the Mount are open to similar 
criticisms. 

Thomas Jefferson honored Virginia more than 
/ any other of her sons except George Washington, 
I but Virginia, one of the greatest and most un- 
I grateful of States, has not honored Thomas Jef 
ferson. His neighbors, to whose welfare he de 
voted so much time and labor, and to whom his 
achievements brought so much glory and honor, 
permitted him to die destitute, and his family to 
be driven by poverty from their home. They per 
mitted his estates to pass into the hands of aliens 
who now stand in his footprints and measure the 
value of his greatest gift to the people of his State, 
the University of Virginia, which they have 
never fully appreciated. They allowed his grave 
to be trampled upon and his tomb to be desecrated, 
and the General Government to restore the monu 
ment that was erected to his memory; and a citi 
zen of New York to preserve and occupy the man 
sion in which he spent the best years of his life. 

120 



THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

But Virginia also allowed the home of Washington 
to pass out of her hands, the home of Madison to 
be sold under the hammer, and the ruins of James 
town, the first civilized settlement on the conti 
nent of North America, to be bought at auction 
by a lady from Ohio who had the generosity to 
present it to a patriotic society of women. No 
State in the Union has furnished more great men 
than Virginia; none has done so little to honor 
them. 

Citizens of other States have been generous 
to the institution Thomas Jefferson founded, but 
the Legislature of Virginia has ever shown a 
penurious policy towards it. Down in Powhatan 
County there is a little post-office that bears the 
name of Jefferson, but it appears nowhere else 
upon the map of Virginia. Twenty-three other 
States have counties named Jefferson; forty-five 
other States have christened cities and towns in 
his name. Thirty-seven counties in the United 
States are called Washington, twenty-four are 
called Franklin, and twenty-two Jackson. In other 
States there are universities and other institu 
tions of learning, hospitals, libraries, and monu 
ments erected in his honor, but Virginia is without 
them, and within the limits of the State nothing 
bears his name except a hotel (lately burned) whose 
ornate architecture and decoration would have of 
fended his sensitive, classical taste. Of all the great 
mountains and rivers and other great objects which 
he added to the national domain none have been 
called Jefferson. 

The germ of patriotism was dropped into Jeffer 
son s soul by Patrick Henry. About the time 
Jefferson entered college at Williamsburg he made 
the acquaintance of a hilarious, impecunious, irre 
sponsible, reckless young lawyer, full of music and 

121 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

humor, who was regarded by the neighbors as an 
incorrigible scamp, but soon in a single speech was 
to win the reputation of being the most eloquent 
and persuasive orator in America. In the loose 
methods of the courts of those days Patrick Henry 
was admitted to the bar after six weeks study 
and a promise of future application, but the con 
duct of his first case made him famous through 
out the colony. 

Jefferson was on his way to Williamsburg to 
enter college when he first met Henry at the house 
of a Mr. Dandridge at Hanover, where they spent 
two pleasant weeks together and formed a friend 
ship which lasted until political differences divided 
them. Jefferson was an intense admirer of Henry s 
oratory, courage, and wit, but frequently expresses 
his regret for his lack of industry and learning. 
Shortly before his death, while writing the remin 
iscences of his youth, he said of Henry s oratory: 
" I never heard anything that deserved to be called 
by the same name with what flowed from him, 
and where he got the torrent of language from is 
inconceivable. I have frequently shut my eyes 
while he spoke, and when he was done asked myself 
what he had said, without being able to recollect a 
word of it." 

When Henry came to Williamsburg he fre 
quently shared Jefferson s bed for the lack of money 
to pay a hotel bill, and thus the intimacy sprang 
up between them. It was on the fly-leaf of Jeffer 
son s " Coke upon Littleton" that Henry wrote 
his famous resolutions, and it was from Jefferson s 
modest chamber that this briefless barrister went 
to the meeting of Burgesses in May, 1765, to 
make that famous speech against taxation without 
representation. Jefferson accompanied him to the 
little Court-House in Williamsburg, and, being 

122 



* 



i 5 







THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

unable to secure entrance for the crowd, stood in 
the door-way and listened to truths and arguments 
that made him an arrant rebel against the king 
and all others in authority in the Virginia Colony. 
Henry never had a listener more attentive, or 
whose mind was held captive so completely as that 
of the student on the threshold. As a boy Jefferson 
was profoundly impressed by the oratory of an 
Indian chief, and Ossian s majestic phrases were 
music to his ears. Fifty-nine years afterwards he 
described this day as the most important in his 
life. 

In Virginia the people had been born and bred 
to feel pride in the parliament and the king, the 
church, the literature, and the history of the mother 
country, and although Jefferson was a Whig by 
nature and conviction, his sense of justice was 
not greater than his attachment to England. 
Nevertheless from the time he heard that speech 
from Patrick Henry he became a changed man. 
;< Torrents of sublime eloquence," he observed, 
" swept away all arguments on the other side, and 
the resolutions were carried, the last one by a single 
vote." But the next day, in the absence of the 
mighty eloquence which had made the timid brave, 
Henry s resolutions were expunged from the rec 
ords upon the motion of Colonel Peter Randolph, 
an uncle of Jefferson. But the seed that had been 
implanted in fertile soil germinated and grew until 
Jefferson became eager to take an active part in 
the struggle that his foresight realized was before 
the colony. 

When he finished his law studies in 1768 the ad 
vent of a new governor made necessary the election 
of a new House of Burgesses, and Jefferson, then 
twenty-five years old, offered himself as a candi 
date from Albemarle County. It was one of the 

123 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

few political contests in his long life in which he 
took an active part, and during the winter he can 
vassed the county thoroughly for votes. He visited 
every house, soliciting the support of every citizen, 
and obtained pledges so far as possible. With the 
aid of his mother and sisters he entertained the 
voters of the county at Shadwell, where there was 
always a full punch-bowl and a hearty welcome. 
During the three days of election he supplied food 
and drink to the voters, attended personally at the 
polls, and thanked every man who cast a ballot 
for him. That was the custom of the day. Every 
citizen was compelled to vote at every election un 
der a penalty of one hundred pounds of tobacco, 
but it was expected that the candidates would re 
ward them and make the exercise of this duty as 
agreeable as possible by offering refreshments. In 
1777 James Madison attempted to abolish this cus 
tom and lost his election. His failure to furnish 
luncheon and punch at the polls was ascribed to 
parsimony and his absence to snobbishness, and 
he was defeated by a large majority. 

Jefferson s election was a matter of course, and 
he was very desirous of distinguishing himself. 
He wrote Madison long after that " in those days 
the esteem of the world was perhaps of higher 
value than anything in it," but his first legisla 
tive experience was brief, unsatisfactory, and 
amusing. 

George Washington was elected at the same 
time, and took his seat with Jefferson in May, 
1769. His appearance in the House of Burgesses 
immediately after the Braddock campaign created 
a flutter, for his fame had gone before him. By 
order of the Assembly, Speaker Robinson was di 
rected to tender him the thanks of the people of 
Virginia, and did so with such an exuberance of 

124 



THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

compliments that Washington was disconcerted 
and unable to reply. He rose, flushed, and fal 
tered, whereupon the Speaker relieved his em 
barrassment by saying: 

" Sit down, Colonel Washington, sit down. Your 
modesty equals your valor, and that surpasses the 
power of any language I possess." 

On the following day Jefferson was assigned 
to his first public duty, and performed it with 
great pride. He was designated to prepare a reply 
to the speech of the governor, Lord Botetourt, but 
suffered the intense mortification of having his 
fine phrases rejected by the practical Burgesses, 
who were not accustomed to express their thoughts 
in such elegant diction. On the third day of that 
session were introduced the famous Four Resolu 
tions, which was the first formal act of rebellion 
committed in the American colonies. They were 
in short : ( i ) no taxation without representation ; 
(2) advocating the cooperation o f the colonies in 
seeking redress for wrongs; (3) remonstrating \ 
against the injustice of sending accused persons 
away from the colony for trial; (4) advocating a 
formal remonstrance to the king. The resolutions 
were unanimously adopted, and the Speaker was 
directed to send a copy to every legislative assembly 
on the continent. 

Williamsburg was sleepless with excitement, and 
the night was spent by Jefferson, Washington, and 
their friends in speculating as to the probable action 
of the governor and the loyalists. The next morn 
ing Lord Botetourt s secretary entered the little 
room and announced that the governor commanded 
the presence of the Burgesses in the council cham 
ber. The patriots stepped across the hall and stood 
respectful and expectant around the throne. Ar 
rayed in his gorgeous robes of office and all the 

125 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

dignity he could assume, the governor addressed 
them as follows : 

" Mr. Speaker and gentlemen of the House of 
Burgesses, I have heard of your resolves and augur 
ill of their effect. You have made it my duty to 
dissolve you, and you are accordingly dissolved." 

The new member from Albemarle listened with 
astonishment at this exercise of authority over 
the representatives of the people of Virginia assem 
bled to frame laws for their protection and benefit, 
and thus saw the end of his first term in the colonial 
Legislature. After all his canvassing and treating, 
the labor and anxiety of his mother and sisters 
and himself, he enjoyed the honor of representing 
his native county but five days. 

The governor could dissolve the House of Bur 
gesses as an organization, but he could not ex 
tinguish the patriotism of its members, or suppress 
the indignation that they felt at his arbitrary 
repudiation of their rights. The next day they 
met in a mass convention and signed an address 
recommending their constituents to follow the ex 
ample of the people of Massachusetts and boycott 
the manufacturers and merchants of Great Britain. 
They resolved to be more economical and indus 
trious; never to buy an article taxed by Parlia 
ment excepting cheap qualities of paper, without 
which the business of life could not go on; never 
to patronize British ships; never to use an article 
imported from England that they could do with 
out; and, finally, to save all their lambs in order 
to have wool enough to furnish their own clothing. 
Eighty-eight members of the House of Burgesses, 
including Washington and Jefferson, signed this 
document and were reflected. The twelve who re 
fused to do so were defeated at the next election, and 
were themselves boycotted throughout the colony. 

126 



THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

These were defensive measures, but the first ag 
gressive movement was at once decided upon at 
a conference of six or seven gentlemen, including 
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick 
Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lightfoot Lee, 
and Dabney Carr, Jefferson s brother-in-law, who 
gathered as usual in a private room of the Raleigh 
tavern at Williamsburg each evening in the early 
part of March, 1772. 

The Massachusetts Assembly had already ap 
pointed a committee to correspond with the other 
colonial Legislatures upon subjects of common con 
cern, and the young gentlemen at this gathering 
determined to propose a similar committee for the 
Virginia Burgesses. Resolutions were drawn and 
the next morning were offered by Dabney Carr 
and almost unanimously adopted. Jefferson and 
Patrick Henry were appointed on the committee. 

:( The next event which excited our sympathy," 
said Jefferson in his autobiography, " was the Bos 
ton Port Bill by which that port was to be shut 
on the first of June 1774." " We were under con 
viction of the necessity of arousing our people from 
the lethargy into which they had fallen, and 
thought that the appointment of a day of fasting 
and prayer would be most likely to call up and 
alarm their attention." Therefore these young 
rebels rummaged the records for revolutionary 
precedents and forms used by the Puritans of that 
day. and, said Jefferson, " we cooked up a resolu 
tion for appointing the first day of June for a day 
of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to implore 
heaven to avert from us the evils of civil war, 
to inspire us with firmness in support of our rights, 
and to turn the hearts of the king and Parliament 
to moderation and justice." 

Edmund Randolph, in his " History of Vir- 
127 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

ginia," says that both Jefferson and Charles Lee 
suggested the plan of a fast-day, and wrote the 
proclamation, although Jefferson, when Presi 
dent, refused to issue thanksgiving and fast-day 
proclamations because he considered them a form 
of religious coercion. 

The next morning they induced Robert Carter 
Nicholas, " whose grave and religious character 
w r as more in unison with the tone of the resolu 
tions," to offer them. They were passed without 
opposition, " and the governor dissolved us as 
usual," said Jefferson with grim humor. 

The little self-appointed committee of young ama 
teur revolutionists still continued to meet at the Ra 
leigh tavern and instructed their Committee on 
Correspondence to propose to similar committees in 
the other colonies the appointment of delegates to 
meet in a general Congress. " It was acceded to," 
said Jefferson. " Philadelphia was appointed as the 
place and the 5th of September for the time of 
meeting." Thus, there and then, in the little room 
in the Williamsburg tavern, w r as conceived and 
born that body whose resolutions were to separate 
the American colonies from the mother country, 
and establish a precedent which has been gratefully 
emulated by all the other republics in the world. 

A State Convention was called at Richmond. 
Jefferson was appointed a delegate from Albemarle 
County, but was detained by an attack of dysentery. 
He had drawn up a document, which he afterwards 
used as his model for the Declaration of Inde 
pendence and which contained some of its phrases, 
and sent one copy of it to Peyton Randolph and 
another to Patrick Henry. " Whether Mr. Henry 
disapproved of the ground taken," said Jefferson 
in his autobiography, " or was too lazy to read 
it (for he was the laziest man in reading I ever 

128 



THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

knew), I never learned, but he communicated it 
to nobody." Randolph laid his copy before the 
convention, which ordered it printed in pamphlet 
form under the title " A Summary View of the 
Rights of British America." In that form it found 
its way to England and was Thomas Jefferson s 
first introduction on that side of the ocean, where 
a few years afterwards his name became well 
known. The pamphlet was pronounced treasonable, 
and Jefferson had the honor of being one of the 
first men in the American colonies to be publicly 
denounced and proscribed. 

In March, 1775, we find young Jefferson again 
in Richmond attending the convention, when 
Patrick Henry hurried the willing people into revo 
lution by a speech that still thrills the hearts of 
American school-boys, and Jefferson was appointed 
to assist Washington and others to devise a plan for 
placing the colony on a military basis. Before the 
convention adjourned, and before his committee 
had undertaken active work, he was elected to 
represent Virginia in the Continental Congress in 
the place of Peyton Randolph, who was recalled 
to preside over the House of Burgesses. 

Jefferson went to Philadelphia on horseback 
from Monticello; he had an allowance of forty- 
five shillings a day and a shilling a mile for his 
travelling-expenses. He was thirty-two years of 
age, and there were only two men younger than he 
in the Continental Congress. The new member 
from Virginia was welcomed, says John Adams, 
"as he brought with him a reputation for litera 
ture, science and a happy talent for composition." 
It was whispered about that, in addition to Latin 
and Greek, he understood French, Italian, and 
Spanish; was learning German and intended to 
master Gaelic " if he could get the books from 
9 129 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Scotland;" that he could calculate an eclipse, sur 
vey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try 
a case, break a horse, dance a minuet, and play 
the violin, a long list of accomplishments that 
were admired by the sixty serious gentlemen in 
silk stockings and pigtails who sat in the plain 
brick building up a narrow alley in Philadelphia 
and called themselves " the honorable Congress." 
But with all his versatility Jefferson lacked the 
talent of oratory. Like St. Paul, his pen was pow 
erful but his tongue was weak. Conscious of this 
weakness, he discussed the art freely and with 
many wise comments in his letters to his friends. 
" The finest thing in my opinion, which the English 
language has produced," he once said to a friend, 
" is the defense of Eugene Aram spoken by himself 
at the bar of the York assizes." 

Jefferson s voice was weak and husky and he 
was never able to raise it above the tone of ordi 
nary conversation; he was not fluent when upon 
his feet; there was no fire nor magnetism in his 
presence, but we have the testimony of John Adams 
that " he was so prompt, frank, explicit and de 
cisive upon committees and in conversation that 
he soon won my heart." 

His colleagues soon called his talent for com 
position into practical use. Before he had been 
five days in Philadelphia he was designated to 
prepare for publication a statement of the reasons 
for Lexington and Bunker Hill, and the causes 
which impelled the colonies to take up arms. Liv 
ingston had presented a draft of a document by 
John Jay, but the Congress was exceedingly anx 
ious concerning the form as well as the substance 
of its utterances, because of an exalted idea of 
its duty and the importance of its work. The mem 
bers felt that the eyes of the universe were upon 

130 



THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

them, and that the embryo nation was already 
on trial. Jay s composition was not acceptable, 
and the young member from Virginia was asked 
to try his hand, but his fiery utterances were too 
strong for the conservative members, who still 
hoped for a reconciliation with the king. However, 
he must have made a distinct impression both as 
a writer and a reasoner, for a few weeks later, 
when the Congress came to elect a committee to 
prepare a reply to Lord North s " Conciliatory 
Propositions," Jefferson received the largest num 
ber of ballots, more even than Benjamin Franklin 
and John Adams, who were associated with him. 
As he had already drawn Virginia s answer to that 
unsatisfactory overture, he was asked to prepare 
one for the Congress also, which was unanimously 
approved, for by this time his shrewd mind had 
measured the mental caliber and disposition of his 
colleagues and taught him how to please them. 

At the adjournment in August, Jefferson went 
back to the convention at Richmond, and was im 
mediately elected to a seat in the next Continental 
Congress. He returned to Philadelphia in Sep 
tember, where active preparations were in prog 
ress for the war. A secret agent of the French 
government had arrived, and the confidence of the 
Congress in Jefferson was shown by his selection 
with Franklin and Jay to take the first steps that 
led to the alliance that enabled the colonies to win 
their cause. In May the Virginia Convention 
passed resolutions of independence, and on the 7th 
of June, Richard Henry Lee, the dean of the dele 
gation from that State, submitted them to Con 
gress and moved a formal declaration of indepen 
dence. 

The form in which this declaration should be 
presented to the world was deemed highly impor- 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

tant, and a committee of five was elected by bal- 
lot ? Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Franklin, John 
Adams, Roger Sherman, and R. R. Livingston. 
Because of his skill with the pen Mr. Jefferson 
again received the largest number of votes and 
became chairman of the most important commit 
tee appointed by the Continental Congress. 
" Writings of his were handed about, remarkable 
for the peculiar felicity of expression/ said Adams, 
and for that reason he was designated to prepare 
the draft of a declaration. He was engaged eigh 
teen days upon the task. He appreciated the re 
sponsibility and probably realized that it was the 
most important duty of his life. It is a curious 
fact, however, that while he was thus engaged 
Jefferson narrowly escaped defeat for reelection 
to Congress, having received next to the smallest 
number of votes cast for any of the candidates in 
Virginia. 

John Adams has left us the most interesting and 
probably the most accurate account of the pro 
ceedings of the committee. There were several 
meetings, he said, in which the subject was gen 
erally discussed and various propositions sug 
gested which Jefferson was asked " to clothe in 
proper dress." " Mr. Jefferson desired me to make 
the draught," Adams says. " This I declined and 
gave several reasons for declining. First, that he 
was a Virginian and I a Massachesettensian, and 
it was the policy to place Virginia at the head of 
everything. 2. He was a Southern man and I a 
northern one. 3. I had been so unpopular and 
obnoxious for my early and continual zeal in pro 
moting the measure that any draught of mine 
would undergo more criticism and scrutiny in 
Congress than one of his composition, and 4. 
and lastly, there would be reason enough if there 

132 



THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

were no other, I had a great opinion of the elegance 
of his pen and none at all of my own." 

Jefferson first submitted his manuscript to 
Adams and Franklin, who suggested some verbal 
changes of no importance. " I was delighted with 
its high tone," continues Adams, " and the flights 
of oratory in which it abounded, especially that 
concerning negro slavery, which though I knew 
his southern brethren would never suffer to pass 
in Congress, I never would oppose. There were 
other clauses which I would not have inserted, 
if I had drawn it up, particularly that which called 
the king a tyrant. I thought this too personal, 
for I never believed George to be a tyrant in dis 
position or in nature. 

We reported to the committee of five. It was 
read and I do not remember that Franklin or 
Sherman criticised anything. Congress was im 
patient and the instrument was reported in Jef 
ferson s hand writing as he originally drew it. 
Congress cut off about a quarter of it as I ex 
pected they would, but they obliterated some of 
the best of it." 

Jefferson was not pleased with Adams s ver 
sion, and in 1823, forty-seven years after the fact, 
gave his own as follows : 

" The Committee of five met ; no such things 
as a sub-committee was proposed, but they unani 
mously pressed on myself alone to undertake the 
draft. I consented ; I drew it ; but before I re 
ported it to the Committee, I communicated it 
separately to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, re 
questing their correction, because they were the two 
members of whose judgments and amendments 
I wished most to have the benefit, before presenting 
it to the Committee; and you have seen the orig 
inal paper now in my hands, with the corrections 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, interlined in 
their own handwritings. Their alterations were 
two or three only, and merely verbal. I then wrote 
a fair copy, reported it to the Committee, and from 
them, unaltered, to Congress. Pickering s obser 
vations, and Adams s in addition, that it con 
tained no new ideas, that it is a common-place com 
pilation, its sentiments hackneyed in Congress for 
two years before, and its essence contained in Otis s 
pamphlet, may all be true. Of that I am not to 
be the judge. Richard Henry Lee charged it as 
copied from Locke s Treatise on Civil Govern 
ment. Otis s pamphlet I never saw, and whether 
I had gathered my ideas from reading or reflection, 
I do not know. I know only that I turned to 
neither book nor pamphlet while writing it. I 
did not consider it as any part of my charge to 
invent new ideas altogether, and to offer no senti 
ment which had ever been expressed before. 

" This, however, I will say for Mr. Adams, that 
he supported the Declaration with zeal and ability, 
fighting fearlessly for every word of it. As for 
myself, I thought it a duty to be, on that occasion, 
a passive auditor of the opinions of others, more 
impartial judges than I could be, of its merits or 
demerits. During the debate I was sitting by Dr. 
Franklin, and he observed that I was writhing a 
little under the acrimonious criticisms of some of 
its parts; and it was on that occasion, that by 
way of comfort, he told me the story of John 
Thompson, the hatter, and his new sign. 

" At the time of writing the Declaration, I 
lodged in the house of a Mr. Graaf, a new brick 
house, three stories high, of which I rented the 
second floor, consisting of a parlor and bedroom, 
ready furnished. In that parlor I wrote habitually, 
and in it wrote this paper, particularly. So far I 

134 



THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

state from written proofs in my possession. The 
proprietor, Graaf, was a young man, son of a 
German, and then newly married. I think he 
was a bricklayer, and that his house was on the 
south side of Market Street, probably between 
Seventh and Eighth Streets, and if not the only 
house on that part of the street, I am sure there 
were few others near it." 

There has long been a dispute as to the house 
in which the Declaration was written, four build 
ings in the city of Philadelphia claiming the honor, 
but the testimony of Jefferson as above given has 
been accepted as final, and a tablet now marks the 
spot, which is occupied by a banking building at 
the corner of Seventh and Market Streets. 

As Adams and Jefferson agree, the committee 
suggested only a few unimportant verbal changes, 
but the three days discussion that followed in the 
House was critical and caustic, causing Jefferson s 
sensitive nature intense mortification, although any 
critic who compares the original draft and that 
which was finally adopted must admit that the 
document was considerably improved. Congress 
suppressed eighteen sentences, amended ten, and 
added six. There were also some verbal altera 
tions ; for example, where Jefferson said that men 
" are endowed with inherent and inalienable 
rights," Congress struck out " inherent." A clause 
reading " to prove this let the facts be submitted 
to a candid world, for the truth of which we 
pledge a faith yet unsullied by falsehood" was 
stricken out. The paragraph denouncing slavery, 
which Jefferson had prepared with so much elo 
quence, and which pleased Adams, was omitted 
because a majority of the members thought it in 
consistent to hold George III. responsible for a 
slave-trade carried on by New England ship- 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

masters for the benefit of the cotton and tobacco 
planters of the South. 

Jefferson sat silent throughout the entire debate, 
so conscious of his weakness in oratory that he 
did not allow himself to defend the pet passages 
in his momentous document. The responsibility 
of presenting and sustaining the report of the com 
mittee was ably assumed by John Adams, whom 
Jefferson gratefully called "the Colossus" of that 
great debate. There is no telling how much the 
discussion might have been prolonged but for the 
interposition of a swarm of hungry flies, which 
came in through the open windows from a livery 
stable in the neighborhood and stung the legs of 
the honorable members through their silk stock 
ings. Jefferson, who usually had very little sense 
of humor, used to tell the story with great amuse 
ment, and is authority for the statement that the 
annoyance became at length so great that a vote 
was demanded before the document had been dis 
cussed by many gentlemen who desired to speak 
upon it. 

There has always been a controversy as to the 
manner in which the Declaration was signed, but 
we know from his own testimony that it was 
adopted late on Thursday afternoon, July 4, and 
was held open for signatures until late in the fol 
lowing August because some of the delegates 
thought it best to await explicit instructions from 
their States. 

Although they fully realized the solemnity and 
importance of their proceedings, the honorable 
delegates indulged in a few jests, and the best 
of them have survived the century. When John 
Hancock affixed his magnificent signature he re 
marked, " There, John Bull can read my name 
without his spectacles." 

136 



THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

When Hancock urged the members of the Con 
gress to hang together, Franklin retorted, 

" Yes, we must hang together or we shall all 
hang separately." 

Benjamin Harrison, who is described by John 
Adams as " a luxurious, heavy gentleman," re 
marked to Elbridge Gerry, who was very small 
of stature, 

" When the hanging comes I shall have the ad 
vantage, for you will be kicking in the air when 
it is all over with me." 

In one of the corridors of the Capitol at Wash 
ington is a marble statue of John Hancock, which 
bears upon its pedestal the following inscription : 

" He wrote his name where 
all nations should behold it 
and all time should 
not efface it" 

On the Monday following, at noon, the Decla 
ration was publicly read for the first time in In 
dependence Square, Philadelphia, from a platform 
erected by David Rittenhouse for the purpose of 
observing the transit of Venus. Captain John 
Hopkins, the young commander of the first armed 
brig of the navy of the new nation, was the reader, 
and his stentorian voice carried the words to all 
the multitude who had assembled to hear it. 

In the evening, as a newspaper of the day has 
it, " our late king s coat-of-arms was brought 
from the hall of the State House, where the said 
king s courts were formerly held, and burned amid 
the acclamations of a crowd of spectators." Simi 
lar scenes were enacted in every town and village, 
and at every camp and post. Usually the militia 
companies, the Committee of Safety, and other 
revolutionary bodies marched in procession to some 

137 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

public place, where, after listening to the reading 
of the Declaration, cheers were given and salutes 
fired ; and in the evening there were illuminations 
and bonfires. In New York, after the reading, 
" a leaden statue of the late king in Bowling Green 
was laid prostrate in the dirt, and ordered to be 
run into bullets." The xlebtors in prison were set 
at liberty. Virginia, before the news of the Decla 
ration had reached her (July, 5, 1776), had stricken 
the king s name from the Prayer-Book ; and Rhode 
Island imposed a fine of one thousand pounds upon 
any one who prayed for him. 

The draft of the Declaration of Independence, 
as submitted to the committee, and the desk upon 
which it was written, are still preserved in the 
Department of State at Washington. The writing 
is legible and shows the interlineations in the hand 
writing of Franklin and Adams to which Jefferson 
alludes. The original draft, of which the former 
is a fair copy, was written upon several sheets of 
legal-cap paper and is full of corrections. This was 
given by Jefferson to his colleague, Richard Henry 
Lee, the dean of the Virginia delegation, who under 
instructions from his State moved the Declaration 
of Independence. The precious manuscript was 
kept in Lee s family until 1825, when his grand 
son and namesake presented it to the American 
Philosophical Society, of Philadelphia, with a cer 
tificate from Jefferson that it is genuine. 

During the weeks and months that he was 
detained in Philadelphia Jefferson employed his 
time in preparing a constitution for the State of 
Virginia, but the copy he sent to the convention 
arrived too late. His preamble was adopted, 
however, and bears a striking resemblance to the 
Declaration of Independence, of which it was a 
paraphrase. 

138 



THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

Dr. Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jeffer 
son were appointed by the Continental Congress 
a committee to devise a seal and a coat-of-arms 
for the new-born nation, and prepared a most 
extraordinary design representing the Children of 
Israel in the wilderness followed by Pharaoh and 
led by a cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night, 
and " clouds radiant with the hidden presence of 
God;" while on the other side were " Hengist 
and Horsa, the Saxon chiefs from whom we claim 
the honor of being descended, and whose political 
principles and forms of government we have as 
sumed." Fortunately, this complicated design was 
all rejected except that stately legend, " E Pluribus 
Unum" 

Another design proposed by Jefferson repre 
sented a father presenting a bundle of rods to his 
son with the motto, " Insuperabiles si Insepara 
bles." 



139 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

ACCORDING to his own calculations, Jefferson s 
public life covered sixty-one years. He was ac 
tually in office thirty-nine years. His estimate 
included the time he spent in the revision of the 
laws of his State and laboring for the University 
of Virginia. He was elected to the House of 
Burgesses in 1769, when he was twenty-six years 
old, and served continually until 1775, when he 
was sent to the Continental Congress. At the 
same time he was a member of the Virginia As 
sembly until 1779, when he became governor and 
served two years. In 1781 and again in 1783 he 
was elected to Congress. In 1784 he was sent as 
minister to France, and returned in 1789 to accept 
the portfolio of state in Washington s Cabinet, 
which he resigned in 1793. After spending three 
years at Monticello he was inaugurated Vice- 
President in 1796, was elected President in 1800, 
and served until March 4, 1809. 

Jefferson enumerated his own public services in 
a memorandum which was evidently prepared for 
the guidance of his future biographer. He also 
included a similar synopsis in his " Thoughts on 
Lotteries," which was presented to the Virginia 
Legislature with a petition for authority to dis 
pose of his property in that way. It was an expla 
nation and defence of his poverty; to show that 
he had deprived himself of his estates by devoting 
his time and talents to the public. " I came of 

140 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

age in 1764, and was soon put into the nomina 
tion of justice of the county in which I lived," 
he says, " and at the first election following I 
became one of its representatives in the legislature. 
I was soon sent to the old Congress. Then em 
ployed two years with Mr. Pendleton and Mr. 
Wythe on the revisal and reduction to a single 
code of the whole body of the British statutes, 
the acts of our assembly and certain parts of the 
common law. Then elected governor. Next to 
the legislature and to Congress again. Sent to 
Europe as minister plenipotentiary. Appointed 
Secretary of State of the new government. Elected 
Vice President and President. And lastly a vis 
itor and Rector of the University of Virginia. 
In these different offices with scarcely any interval 
between them, I have been in the public service 
now sixty one years. And during the far greater 
part of the time in foreign countries or in other 
States." 

In enumerating what he had accomplished for 
the benefit of his country, he begins with the re 
moval of the obstructions in the Rivanna River 
so that it could be used " completely and fully for 
carrying down all our produce." He next men 
tions the Declaration of Independence and then 
says: 

" I proposed the demolition of the Church Es 
tablishment, and the Freedom of Religion. It 
.could only be done by degrees; to wit, the Act 
of 1776, c. 2, exempted dissenters from contribu 
tions to the Church and left the Church clergy 
to be supported by voluntary contributions of their 
own sect; was continued from year to year, and 
made perpetual 1779, c. 36. I prepared the Act 
for Religious Freedom in 1777, as part of the Re 
visal, which was not reported to the Assembly 

141 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

till 1779, and that particular law not passed till 
1785, and then by the efforts of Mr. Madison. 

" The Act putting an end to Entails. 

" The Act prohibiting the Importation of Slaves. 

" The Act concerning Citizens and establishing 
the natural right of man to expatriate himself at 
will. 

" The Act changing the course of Descents, and 
giving the inheritance to all the children, &c., 
equally, I drew as part of the Revisal. 

" The Act for Apportioning Crimes and Pun 
ishments, part of the same work, I drew. When 
proposed to the Legislature, by Mr. Madison, in 

1785, it failed by a single vote. G. K. Taylor 
afterwards, in 1796, proposed the same subject; 
avoiding the adoption of any part of the diction 
of mine, the text of which had been studiously 
drawn in the technical terms of the law, so as 
to give no occasion for new questions by new ex 
pressions. When I drew mine, public labor was 
thought the best punishment to be substituted for 
death. But, while I was in France, I heard of a 
society in England, who had successfully intro 
duced solitary confinement, and saw the drawing 
of a prison at Lyons, in France, formed on the 
idea of solitary confinement. And, being applied 
to by the Governor of Virginia for the plan of a 
Capitol and Prison I sent him the Lyons plan, 
accompanying it with a drawing on a smaller 
scale, better adapted to our use. This was in June, 

1786. Mr. Taylor very judiciously adopted this 
idea (which had now been acted on in Philadel 
phia, probably from the English model), and sub 
stituted labor in confinement for the public labor 
proposed by the Committee on Revisal; which 
themselves would have done, had they been called 
to act on the subject again. The public mind was 

142 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

ripe for this in 1796, when Mr. Taylor proposed 
it, and ripened chiefly by the experiment in Phila 
delphia; whereas, in 1785, when it had been pro 
posed to our Assembly, they were not quite ripe 
for it. 

" In 1789 and 1790 I had a great number of 
olive plants, of the best kind, sent from Marseilles 
to Charleston, for South Carolina and Georgia. 
They were planted and are flourishing, and 
though not yet multiplied, they will be the germ 
of that cultivation in those States. 

" In 1790, I got a cask of heavy upland rice 
from the river Denbigh, in Africa, about Latitude 
9 30 North, which I sent to Charleston, in hopes 
it might supersede the culture of the wet rice, 
which renders South Carolina and Georgia so 
pestilential through the summer. It was divided 
and a part sent to Georgia. I know not whether 
it has been attended to in South Carolina; but 
it has spread in the upper parts of Georgia, so 
as to have become almost general, and is highly 
prized. Perhaps it may answer in Tennessee and 
Kentucky. The greatest service which can be 
rendered the country is, to add an useful plant to 
its culture ; especially a bread grain ; next in value 
to bread is oil. 

" Whether the Act for the more General Diffu 
sion of Knowledge will ever be carried into com 
plete effect, I know not. It was received by the 
Legislature with great enthusiasm at first; and a 
small effort was made in 1796, by the act to estab 
lish public schools, to carry a part of it into effect, 
viz., that for the establishment of free English 
schools; but the option given to the courts has 
defeated the intention of the act." 

Jefferson s career as Governor of Virginia was 
the most disagreeable period of his life, not ex- 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

cepting his sacrifices to escape bankruptcy. His 
biographers differ materially as to the success of 
his administration. Some of them say he was not 
a good governor; others insist that he was not a 
bad one, and with great solicitude endeavor to 
prove the negative. The local prejudice of the 
time pronounced him disgracefully inefficient. His 
apologists urged extenuating circumstances. Jef 
ferson himself pleaded not guilty, and demanded 
that his critics should formulate their charges and 
confront him at the bar of the Legislature. 

In his memoirs he omits all references to the 
governorship except his ex-officio connection with 
William and Mary College, and apologizes on the 
plea of modesty, although he was not usually trou 
bled with that quality. Nothing in all his career 
mortified him so much as the general disapproval 
of his policy and conduct as governor, and it con 
tinued to distress him after everybody else had for 
gotten the events thrown so entirely into the 
shadow by his brilliant administration during the 
first term of his Presidency. 

He sought an election to the Assembly the year 
following, in order to secure a vindication, and 
one of the members from his county resigned to 
make a vacancy for him. At the proper time he 
arose in the Assembly and demanded that his ac 
cusers should be compelled to make formal charges. 
No one responded. Jefferson then made a speech 
defending his record and his motives, and one of 
his neighbors introduced a resolution w T hich was 
unanimously adopted, thanking " Thomas Jeffer 
son, Esq. for his impartial, upright and attentive 
administration, while in office," and declaring that 
the Assembly " entertained a high opinion of his 
ability and rectitude as chief magistrate of the 
commonwealth." That ought to have satisfied an 

144 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

ordinary man, but his subsequent writings reveal 
his wounded pride by the omission of all reference 
to his governorship. He retired to Monticello, se 
cluded himself, and occupied his time by attending 
to his farm and writing his famous " Notes on 
Virginia," which many think the best of all his 
published works. 

" I felt," he wrote, " that these injuries, for such 
they have since been acknowledged, had inflicted a 
wound on my spirit which will only be cured by 
the all-healing grave." 

The chief complaint against Jefferson s admin 
istration was his neglect to prepare for an invasion 
of Virginia by the British, for Lord Cornwallis 
found the State entirely unprotected and committed 
depredations in every direction. He practically de 
stroyed Richmond, the infant capital, and the mem 
bers of the Legislature who had fled to Charlottes- 
ville were very nearly captured. Jefferson had a 
narrow escape. Monticello was protected by the 
British commander, but his other estates were de 
stroyed. 

His opponent for the governorship was no other 
than John Page, a classmate at William and Mary 
College, and in those days his most intimate friend, 
excepting his brother-in-law, Dabney Carr. To 
him he wrote the sentimental letters that are quoted 
by his biographers concerning his love affairs. The 
contest for the governorship was a warm one, but 
between the candidates the most cordial feelings 
continued. Jefferson was elected by a margin of 
a very few votes. Twenty-three years later Page 
was again nominated for governor, and President 
Jefferson had an opportunity to congratulate him 
upon his success. 

Nothing could have been more congenial or de 
lightful to Jefferson than the society in which he 

MS 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

moved in Paris. At the head of an elegant estab 
lishment, as an American and the friend of La 
fayette, his house was the favorite resort of all 
the accomplished and gallant young French offi 
cers who had enthusiastically taken up arms in 
the defence of liberty in the New World; while 
as a philosopher and author of the " Notes on 
Virginia," his company was sought for and enjoyed 
by the most distinguished savants and men of 
science, who at that age thronged from all parts 
of Europe to the great French capital. Nor were 
the ease and grace of his address, the charm of his 
manners and conversation, and the versatility of 
his learning lost upon the witty and handsome 
women at the court of the amiable young Louis 
XVI. and the lovely Marie Antoinette. His social 
intercourse with them was gratifying, and the 
pleasant friendships formed with some of those 
he met in Paris continued to the end of his days, 
as his correspondence testifies. 

At first he suffered the usual embarrassments of 
American ministers. He could read but not speak 
the French language, and was sorely puzzled how 
to arrange his style of living so that he might 
keep his expenses within his salary of nine thou 
sand dollars a year. The first difficulty diminished 
every hour, though he never trusted himself to 
write in French on any matter of consequence; 
but the art of living in the style of a plenipotentiary 
upon the allowance fixed by Congress was a prob 
lem to the end. Nor could he expect much revenue 
from Virginia. He left behind him a list of debts 
arising from the losses and devastation of the 
war that the proceeds of his crops and the arrears 
of his salary as governor, voted by the Legisla 
ture, did not satisfy. 

He lived with the easy hospitality of Virginia, 
146 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

which harmonized as well with the humor of the 
time as with his own character and habits. Few 
formal dinners, but always a well-spread table; 
no grand parties, but an evening circle that at 
tracted the people he desired to meet. If he had 
a difficult question of diplomacy to discuss, it was 
usual with him to invite the parties interested to 
one of his wholesome " family dinners," and after 
wards, under its conciliating influence, introduce 
the troublesome topic. That prince of gossips and 
story-tellers, Baron Grimm, was among his fa 
miliar acquaintances. Madame De Stael, who was 
married during Jefferson s second year in Paris, 
he knew both as the daughter of Necker and as 
the brilliant young wife of the Swedish ambassa 
dor. 

While he was minister, Ledyard, the Connecticut 
adventurer, came to the legation, poor and disap 
pointed, plagued with a mania to roam over the 
earth. He had sailed with Cook, and exposed the 
barbarity of that navigator ; had seen on the west 
ern coast of North America the richest of all fur- 
bearing regions. From his youth Jefferson had 
wondered what might lie between Monticello and 
the Pacific Ocean. It was an inherited curiosity, 
for all Virginians had felt it from the time when 
Captain John Smith sailed up the Chickahominy 
in search of a passage to the South Sea. He pro 
posed to Ledyard to make his way through Rus 
sia to Kamtchatka; thence by some chance vessel 
to what we now call Oregon; and then explore 
the unknown wilderness to the western settlements 
of the United States. Through 1 Baron Grimm he 
obtained a passport and permission for Ledyard 
to cross Siberia, but it was afterwards revoked by 
Catherine the Great. 

His long residence in Paris made him an ardent 
147 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

admirer of the French people and an enthusiastic 
champion of the French Revolution, which had a 
powerful influence in shaping his own political con 
victions, and at the same time inspired him with 
the bitterest prejudice against the British nation 
and people, although he frequently admitted the 
excellence of their form of government. He was 
constantly consulted by the leaders of the Revolu 
tion, and went daily to Versailles to hear the de 
bates. 

His prejudice against the British was not modi 
fied by a visit to London, where he was presented 
to the king and queen by John Adams, and was 
not received with cordiality. He says : " It was 
impossible for anything to be more ungracious than 
their notice of Mr. Adams and myself." He never 
forgot this offence to his dignity, and his hostility 
did not soften until his old age, when, in 1823, 
he remarked to President Monroe, that " we should 
more sedulously cherish a cordial friendship for 
Great Britain as the nation that can do us the most 
harm of any one on earth, and with her on our 
side, we need not fear the whole world/ 

Notwithstanding his admiration for France and 
his affection for the French people, his residence 
in that country made him the more genuinely an 
American. He advised Monroe to visit France, 
because, he said, "it will make you adore your 
own country; its soil, its climate, its equality, 
its liberty, laws, people and manners." He com 
pared America to Heaven and France to Hell, with 
England as an intermediate station. 

It is interesting to speculate upon what might 
have followed if Congress, in distributing diplo 
matic honors among the founders of the new re 
public, had sent John Adams to France and Jef 
ferson to England; for the plastic mind of the 

148 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

young Virginian received impressions during his 
five years at the French capital which remained 
forever, and had a powerful influence upon his pub 
lic career and upon the policy of his administration. 

Jefferson did much to confirm the French people 
in their friendship for the United States during the 
five years he spent in < Paris under the monarchy 
as well as the republic. Only once in all that time 
was there a blunder, and this through no fault 
of his, for Lafayette, for whom he had a great 
affection and in whom he reposed full confidence, 
without consulting him, invited a group of the 
Revolutionary leaders to dine at Jefferson s house 
in order that they might seek his advice. Jefferson 
was greatly annoyed, rebuked Lafayette for his 
imprudence, and called promptly upon the Minister 
of Foreign Affairs with a frank explanation and 
apology. 

Jefferson s experience as Secretary of State is 
discussed at length in other chapters. As Vice- 
President he had little to do, because the require 
ments of his office were limited, and President 
Adams declined to admit him to a share of re 
sponsibility in the administration of the govern 
ment. This left him plenty of leisure to organize 
the Democratic party and promote his own politi 
cal advancement, which was done with remark 
able skill and resulted in his election as Adams s 
successor in the Presidency. 

Among Jefferson s first acts after his inaugura 
tion was to write an affectionate letter to Samuel 
Adams, who, at more than eighty years of age, 
was then living in retirement in Massachusetts, 
thanking him for his support and good will, and 
saying : " I address a letter to you, my very dear 
and ancient friend, the fourth of March, not in 
deed to you by name, but through the medium of 

149 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

my fellow citizens whom the occasion called on 
me to address. In meditating the matter of that 
address I often asked myself Is this exactly in 
the spirit of the patriarch Samuel Adams? Will 
he approve of it ? How I lament that the time has 
deprived me of your aid, but give us your coun 
sel, my friend, and give us your blessing." 

Having received a gratifying reply, he wrote 
Samuel Adams again, a few months later, closing 
an affectionate letter thus : " May that kind and 
overruling Providence which has so long spared 
you to our wishes, still foster your remaining years 
with whatever may make them comfortable to 
yourself and soothing to your friends. Accept 
this cordial salutation of your affectionate friend." 

He promptly wrote to Dr. Priestley, the Uni 
tarian scholar, inviting him to be a guest at the 
White House ; and to Thomas Paine, then an exile 
in Paris, living in poverty and squalor, to whom 
he offered an office. Paine said that he " should 
like to be sent as Secretary of Legation to the 
English Court, which outlawed me. What a hub 
bub it would create at the king s levee to see Tom 
Paine presented by the American ambassador. All 
the bishops and women would faint away." He 
also selected for distinction every other Republican 
and personal friend who had suffered from the 
prejudices of the people or the attacks of the Fed 
eralists, and opened the prison doors to those who 
had been convicted under the alien and sedition 
laws. 

He selected for his Cabinet college-bred men 
who were identified with scientific investigation or 
had aided to promote the material interests of the 
country. It was natural that he should name James 
Madison, his closest friend, for the first place. Gal- 
latin, the famous Swiss savant and financier, who 

150 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

was made Secretary of the Treasury, was the 
founder of the glass industry in this country. 
Dearborn, of Maine, the new Secretary of War, 
a graduate of Harvard, was a village doctor in 
New Hampshire when a horseman brought the 
news of the battle of Lexington. Before the end 
of the day he had enlisted sixty men and was lead 
ing them towards Concord. Robert Smith, Secre 
tary of the Navy, was a graduate of Princeton, 
provost of the University of Maryland, and presi 
dent of the Agricultural Society of that State. 
Gideon Granger, the Postmaster-General, educated 
at Yale, was a lawyer of high distinction and had 
shown his public spirit by donating a thousand 
acres of land for the benefit of the Erie Canal. 
Chancellor Livingston, who declined a seat in the 
Cabinet, was one of the foremost scholars and the 
most liberal patron of science yet seen in America. 
He furnished Robert Fulton the money to build 
his steamboat. 

Immediately after his inauguration Jefferson 
began his reforms, and we find by his diary that 
his first act was to order the removal from office 
of all of the eleventh-hour officials appointed by 
President Adams, on the ground that their nomi 
nations, as late as nine o clock on the evening 
the last day of the session, some of them within 
three hours of the expiration of his official term 
as President, were improper and unlawful, inas 
much as it was an exercise of authority belonging 
to his successor. He also ordered the removal of 
" all marshalls and attorneys where Federals ex 
cept in particular cases," and he notes in his diary, 
as one exception, a marshal in Massachusetts who 
" thb fed he is moderate & prudent & will be re- 
pub." His reasons for removing these officials 
were : " The courts being so decidedly Federal 




THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

irremovable, it is believed that repub attorneys and 
marshals, being the doors of entrance into the 
courts are indispensably necessary as a shield to 
the repub part of our fellow cits, which I believe 
is the main body of the people." 

Jefferson believed in rotation in office, and a 
;hange of officials with a change of administration. 
" If the will of the nation manifested by their 
various elections calls for an administration of 
government according to the opinion of those 
elected, displacements are necessary," he declares, 
" in order that the new administration may have 
the cordial cooperation of its subordinates/ When 
first advanced this was called a revolutionary idea, 
" involving the principle of a thorough change in 
subordinate offices with the change of adminis 
tration in order that the political principles and 
sentiments of the subordinates may be the same 
as those of the head." It created a great sensation 
among people who up to that time had not been 
divided into political parties, but Jefferson was 
deaf to remonstrances. In a letter to James Mon 
roe, shortly after he had been sworn in as Presi 
dent in 1 80 1, he said: "I have firmly refused 
to follow the councils of those who have desired 
the giving offices to some of their leaders (Feder 
alists) in order to reconcile. I have given and 
will give only to republicans under existing cir 
cumstances. But I believe with others that depri 
vation of office, if made on the ground of political 
principles alone, would revolt our new Congress 
and give a body to leaders who now stand alone. 
Some I know must be made. There must be as 
few as possible, . . . according to the impression 
we perceive them to make." 

However, Jefferson was not the author of the 
spoils system, as is popularly supposed. Adams 

152 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

was more of a " spoilsman" than he. Jefferson 
treated his political opponents liberally, whether 
from policy or principle. Adams presumed upon 
his generosity, and made a number of appointments 
during the closing days of his administration which 
Jefferson resented and declared " an outrage upon 
decency." Adams was the first President to ap 
point relatives to office, including his own son, who 
was commissioner of bankruptcy at Boston, one of 
the most profitable offices in his gift. 

This Jefferson believed to be entirely wrong, 
and wrote to a friend, " The public will never be 
made to believe that the appointment of a relative 
is made on the ground of merit alone uninfluenced 
by family views, nor can they ever see with ap 
probation offices divided out as family property. 
Mr. Adams degraded himself infinitely by his con 
duct on this subject." In a letter to J. C. Cabell, 
written shortly before his death, Jefferson said, 
" In the course of the trusts I have exercised 
through life with powers of appointment, I can 
say with truth and with unspeakable comfort that 
I never did appoint a relation to office, and that 
merely because I never saw the case in which 
some one did not offer or occur better qualified." 

Jefferson was not in favor of the appointment 
of women to office. Gallatin when Secretary of 
the Treasury nominated one, but was stopped by 
a little note which read : " T. J. to Mr. Gallatin : 
The appointment of a woman to office is an innova 
tion for which the public is not prepared nor am I." 

He was opposed to a candidate for office ex 
pending money to aid in his election, and in the 
Constitution of the State of Virginia, which he 
prepared, he inserted a paragraph that " no person 
shall be capable of acting in any office, civil, mili 
tary or ecclesiastical who had so expended money." 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Jefferson was very exact in his accounts and 
noted every item of his expenditures, and there is 
no record of any contribution for political pur 
poses. He even put down the fees he gave the 
servants at his wedding and the shilling that he 
paid for admission to Ann Hathaway s Cottage 
at Stratford, but there is not a dollar of political 
contribution anywhere referred to, except on the 
occasion of his first election to the House of Bur 
gesses soon after he became of age, when he fur 
nished punch and luncheon to the voters, according 
to the customs of the time. 

Jefferson s intentions^on taking the Presidency, 
ere admirable. There is~no reason to believethat 
he was insincere when he declared his conviction 
that " fitness for the position, and respectable and 
unexceptionable character/ should be required for 
official appointment, and that political prejudice 
should not cause the removal of a competent person 
or the appointment of an incompetent one. These 
intentions, however, were not strictly observed in 
practice. 

At the beginning of the administration of Jef 
ferson there were only four hundred and thirty- 
three officials subject to appointment by the Presi 
dent and confirmation by the Senate. During his 
first year he removed one hundred and twenty-four 
of those who had been appointed by his predecessor. 
Of these forty were the so-called " midnight" ap 
pointments made by John Adams within a few 
days or hours of the expiration of his term of 
office. Sixteen were consuls, ten were commercial 
agents, eleven were United States district attor 
neys, eighteen United States marshals, twenty-six 
collectors, three naval officers, six surveyors, four 
supervisors of revenue, seventeen justices of the 
peace, and the rest were miscellaneous. James 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

Madison had eight hundred and twenty-four offi 
cials subject to his jurisdiction, and removed one 
hundred and sixteen of those appointed by his 
predecessor. Monroe was more generous, and re 
moved but sixty-eight. 

John Adams had appointed no Republicans to 
office ; yet he expected Jefferson to retain Federal 
ists who had held places but a few days or weeks. 
" The republicans have been excluded from all 
offices from the first origin of the division into 
republicans and federalists," Jefferson said in reply. 
" They have a reasonable claim to vacancies until 
they occupy their due share." He announced that 
he intended to appoint his friends rather than his 
opponents. " We do not mean to leave arms in 
the hands of our active enemies," he said apologeti 
cally, /yet I hope our wisdom will grow with our 
power, and teach us that the less we use our power, 
the greater it will be. y 

A system of espionage for reasons for removal 
was established, and Levi Lincoln was employed 
in the capacity of a detective to pick out political 
offenders against the principles of the adminis 
tration and report them to Jefferson, leaving the 
rest to him. However, Jefferson himself could not 
approve of his own cause. He wrote Levi Lincoln, 
October 25, 1802: " I still think our original idea .. 
as to the office is best, i.e., to depend for the ob 
taining a just participation on deaths, resignations, 
and delinquencies. . . . This is rather a slow op 
eration, but it is sure if we pursue it steadily, which, 
however, has not been done with that undeviating 
resolution I could have wished." 

While studying the development of his policy, 
one is impressed with the growing emphasis placed 
upon political opinion as a cause for removal. 
At first the only revenge to be taken was removal 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

for cause. A little later political considerations 
entered, and good men were sacrificed for the sake 
of gaining party influence. Offensive partisanship 
was recognized and plans were made to detect it. 

The following changes in the civil service were 
made during Jefferson s first administration: 

5 district judgeships out of 17 

14 district attorneyships out of 22 

15 marshalships out of 22 

41 collectorships out of 82 

4 naval officerships out of n 

18 suryeyorships out of 30 

67 various positions out of (about) 150 

164 334 

When allowance is made for political conver 
sions, both genuine and politic, it is evident that 
very few Federalists were left in office at the 
end of 1804. Added to the evidence furnished by 
these figures is a letter from Jefferson to Duane, 
written in the latter part of 1803, and stating that 
every possible removal had been made, and that 
of three hundred and sixteen offices, only one hun 
dred and thirty remained in Federalist hands. 

Some of these removals were doubtless made 
for good cause. There must have been irregu 
larities in the customs service, and there probably 
was more or less of abuse in the judiciary. Jef 
ferson admits that sixteen of his removals were 
for political reasons, where no cause existed, the 
sole motive being to obtain places for political 
followers. In a letter to Joseph Cooper Nicholson 
he says : " So that sixteen only have been removed 
in the whole for political principles that is to say, 
to make some room for some participation for the 
Republicans." 

If Jefferson did not appreciate and apply the 
full meaning of the spoils system he at least 

156 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

recognized the claim of the victors to a just par 
ticipation of the spoils. He established a political 
standard of appointment, which afterwards natu 
rally developed into the policy of Jackson and 
Van Buren. His conviction that he was doing 
the country a service by freeing it from the con 
trol of monarchists and monocrats may excuse 
him from the charge of being influenced to any 
pronounced degree by the desire to reward politi 
cal followers by patronage; but, nevertheless, 
there can be no doubt that a large faction of his 
party boldly demanded offices and obtained what 
they wished. His general rules for removals were 
official misconduct and what President Cleveland 
afterwards called offensive .partisanship and per 
nicious activity. His rule with regard to col 
lectors and other officials who had the handling 
of money was, " remove no collector till called 
on for acct, that as many may be remd as de 
faulters as are such." In his diary under date 
of March 8, 1801, we find the following entry, 
which indicates that Jefferson was human: 
" Maine Parker Marshall to be removed by & 
by a very violent & influential & industrious fed 
and put in not very fairly. Jersey turn out Tory 
collector an atrocious aptment." 
After a few days in Washington as President, 
hich were spent as before at Conrad s boarding- 
house, he started on horseback for Monticello, and 
the government ran itself nearly two months while 
he arranged his private affairs for a long absence, 
packed his books, and got Edward Bacon, his over 
seer, started with the spring ploughing. When he 
returned he brought several loads of goods of 
various kinds from Monticello to Washington, and 
kept a wagon going regularly between the two 
places. 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

VV About May 15, 1801, the serious business of the 
\Presidency began, and from that date he kept a 
record of proceedings in Cabinet meetings, show 
ing that nearly everything of importance was de 
cided by a vote as if the President s advisers were 
a deliberative body. Jefferson was the first Presi 
dent to adopt that plan. He reduced the patronage 
of the President by abolishing several unnecessary 
offices that had been created for the benefit of John 
Adams s friends and supporters ; he cut down the 
army and the navy by relieving from active service 
a large number of admirals, generals, and other su 
pernumerary officers ; he reduced the salary list in 
the executive departments, and abolished every 
sinecure he could discover, several of them being 
held by men who had gained distinction in the 
Revolution and were too old or infirm to earn a 
living. Jefferson took the ground that civil pen 
sions were not authorized by the Constitution, and 
that his official duty required him to expend no 
government money without an adequate return. 
He endeavored to simplify the administration of 
the different departments, and abolished a great 
deal of red tape which had been developed from 
the military methods of Washington and his staff. 

Then, with a good deal of gusto, we imagine, he 
- > abolished the formalities that had been introduced 
by General Washington and imitated by Adams; 
opening the door of the executive office to all 
comers, and receiving his callers in the order of 
their arrival instead of their rank, as had formerly 
been the case. He revoked the rule which set 
apart certain hours and days for social and business 
calls, and announced that the President would see 
any citizen who had business with the government 
at any time it was convenient for him to call. 

He discontinued the practice of assigning frig- 
158 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

ates for the conveyance of ministers plenipotentiary 
across the ocean; he declined to write letters of 
condolence to the widows and families of deceased 
officers. 

He objected to the celebration of birthdays, say 
ing : "I have declined to let my birthday be known 
and have engaged my family not to communicate 
it. The only birthday that I recognize is that of 
my country s liberties." He disapproved the great 
ball that was given in Philadelphia in honor of 
Washington s birthday. " This is at least very 
indelicate/ he said, " and probably excites uneasy 
sensations in some. I see in it, however, that the 
birthdays which have been kept have been not those 
of the Presidents but of the Generals." Jefferson 
thought that he discovered in the birthday celebra 
tion of certain persons a germ of aristocratic dis 
tinction which it was his duty to crush. 

Jefferson was also opposed to official mourning, 
and when it was proposed in honor of Commodore 
Barry, a distinguished naval officer, he wrote Dr. 
Benjamin Rush as follows : " The first step into 
such an undertaking ought to be well weighed. 
On the death of Dr. Franklin the king and conven 
tion of France went into mourning. So did the 
House of Representatives of the United States. 
The Senate refused. I proposed to General Wash 
ington that the executive department should wear 
mourning. He declined it, because he said he 
should not know where to draw the line, if he once 
began the ceremony. Mr. Adams was then vice 
President, and I thought General Washington had 
his eye on him, who he certainly did not love. 
I told him the world had grown so broad that a 
line between himself and Dr. Franklin on the one 
side, and the residue of mankind on the other, that 
we might wear mourning for them, and the ques- 

159 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

tion still remained new and undecided as to all 
others. He thought it best however, to avoid it. 
On these considerations alone, however well af 
fected to the merit of Commodore Barry, I think 
it prudent not to engage myself in a practice which 
may become embarrassing." 

The weekly levee introduced by Washington and 
continued by Adams was abolished. The society 
people of Washington, who had appreciated and 
enjoyed the social functions introduced by Presi 
dent Adams at the Executive Mansion, which 
were almost the only formal gatherings at that 
date, protested against the innovation, and by com 
mon consent gathered at the White House at the 
usual hour on Tuesday, the day on which President 
Adams had held his levee, attired in their gayest 
raiments. Jefferson, having in some way received 
an intimation of the conspiracy, went off for a 
longer horseback ride than usual. On his return 
he feigned surprise at finding the parlors of the 
President s house filled with guests, but assumed 
that they were there by accident. He entered the 
group, wearing his riding costume, splashed with 
mud and wet with perspiration, greeted them cor 
dially, apologized for his appearance, excused him 
self, and then passed upstairs to his office, leaving 
them to laugh over the manner in which they had 
been outwitted; and that was the last of the 
levees. 

His next radical change was in the manner of 
addressing Congress. During the two previous 
administrations the practice of the British Parlia 
ment had been followed, both houses assembling 
in the Senate Chamber to hear a speech from the 
President at the opening of the session. There 
was a procession to and from the Capitol, the 
President riding in a coach drawn by six horses 

160 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

and escorted by committees representing the two 
houses and the members of the Cabinet, who rode 
in coaches drawn by four horses. After hearing 
his speech the two houses of Congress separated 
and each appointed a committee to prepare an ad 
dress in reply. These addresses furnished a pre 
text for political eulogies and provoked long 
political debates, the minority striving to pre 
vent the majority from enjoying a political ad 
vantage, while the latter made use of the occa 
sion to frame a useful campaign document. After 
the address had been adopted both houses of 
Congress proceeded in a procession to the Presi 
dent s mansion, where they stood around him in 
a solemn semicircle while one of their number 
read to him what he had already seen many times 
in the newspapers, together with the debate upon 
it. It was customary for him to make a short 
formal acknowledgment, congratulate the members 
of Congress upon their good health and the pros 
perity of the country, and shake hands with them 
individually before they returned to the Capitol 
and commenced the business of the session. These 
formalities usually wasted two or three weeks of 
time and excited political passions. That was one 
of Jefferson s objections. Another was that they 
were in imitation of kingly customs, although his 
physical inability to deliver a speech may have 
been a third. Hence, without revealing his pur 
pose in advance, when Congress gathered on the 
morning of December 8, 1801, Meri wether Lewis, 
private secretary to the President, appeared at 
the door of the Senate and handed to the ser- 
geant-at-arms a note addressed to the Vice-Presi 
dent of the United States, which read as follows : 

" SIR : The circumstances under which we find ourselves 
at this place rendering inconvenient the mode heretofore 
ii 161 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

practiced of making by personal address the first communi 
cations between the Legislative and Executive branches, 
I have adopted that by message, as used on all subsequent 
occasions through the session. In doing this, I have had 
principal regard to the convenience of the legislature, to 
the economy of their time, to their relief from the embar 
rassment of immediate answers on subjects not yet fully 
before them, and the benefits thence resulting to public 
affairs. Trusting that a procedure founded on these mo 
tives will meet their approbation, I beg leave, through you, 
sir, to communicate the enclosed copy with the documents 
accompanying it, to the honorable, the Senate, and pray you 
to accept for yourself and them, the homage of my high 
regard and consideration." 

A similar message was sent to the House of 
Representatives, and although it created a sensa 
tion at the time, Congress soon recognized it as 
a practical reform, and it has ever since been fol 
lowed. The next year Congress appointed a com 
mittee to wait upon the President and inform him 
that they were assembled and ready to receive any 
communications that he might desire to make. 

Jefferson s administrative ability was not fairly 
tested during his term as President. The United 
States at the beginning of the century w r as a small, 
feeble, and primitive community. The conditions 
made it easy for the President to exercise the duties 
of the office, and measured by the present standard, 
his responsibilities were comparatively light. The 
executive departments at the capital employed the 
services of only about one hundred persons, while 
there are now 19,446 names upon the pay-rolls of 
the General Government in the District of Colum 
bia alone, not including the army and navy, and 
an expenditure of $19,628,505 for salaries for the 
year. When Jefferson was Secretary of State he 
had the assistance of a secretary, or amanuensis, 
a chief clerk, and a translator of foreign languages. 
At present the Secretary of State has three assist 
ants and ninety-five clerks and translators, which 

162 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

is too small a force to do the business promptly 
and properly. President Jefferson conducted the 
official business of the White House with the aid 
of Meriwether Lewis. President McKinley re 
quires the services of twenty-seven clerks, stenogra 
phers, and typewriters. 

Jefferson exercised authority over about 1400 
subordinates in the employ of the government, not 
including the army and navy. President McKinley 
is responsible for the good behavior of more than 
250,000 employes. In 1800 there were 900 post- 
offices in the country, whose annual receipts were 
$320,000, and 2,900,000 letters were carried in 
the mails. In 1900 there were 76,688 post-offices, 
whose receipts were $102,354,579, and 3,309,754,- 
607 letters and 587,815,250 postal cards were car 
ried in the mails. 

In 1800 the revenues of the government were 
$10,808,745, or $2.04 per capita of the population, 
and the expenditures were $7,411,370, or $1.40 per 
capita. In 1900 the expenditures were $487,- 
713,792, or $6.39 per capita, and the revenues were 
$567,240,852, or $7.43 per capita. 

The imports of foreign merchandise in 1800 
were $91,252,768; in 1900 they were $935,550,- 
635 ; the exports of domestic merchandise in 1800 
were $70,971,780, and in 1900 they were $1,598,- 
407,141. 

In 1800 the area of the United States was 
909,050 square miles. In 1900 it is 3,846,595 
square miles. 

The wealth of the country at the beginning of 
the century was $1,800,000,000; in 1890, by the 
returns of the eleventh census, it was $63,037,- 
091,197, and according to the estimates of the offi 
cials of the twelfth census it had increased to 
$94,000,000,000 in 1900. 

163 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

In 1800 the value of the products of the industry 
of the people was nominal; no attempt was made 
to ascertain the facts. In 1850, at the middle of 
the century, it was reported to be $1,029,106,798. 
At the end of the century the total was $18,222,- 



The cash in the Treasury when Jefferson was 
inaugurated was $i 14,000 ; on the first of January, 
1901, it was $475,769,122. 

In 1800 the population of the country was 
5,308,483, a little more than that of the. State of 
Illinois in 1900. New York State had a population 
of 589,000, which has since increased to 7,268,009, 
or thirty per cent, more than the total population 
of the thirteen colonies at the beginning of the 
century. The centre of population was at Balti 
more; the boundary of civilization was the Alle 
gheny Mountains. It required three days to go 
from New York to Boston, which is now a journey 
of five hours, two days from New York to Phila 
delphia, which is now one of two hours, and three 
weeks from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, which is 
now one of eight hours. 

Jefferson intended that the new nation should 
j/j/ be a democracy, and he would rather have let the 
whole world perish than that this purpose should 
fail. Nevertheless he was the most absolute mon 
arch that ever sat in the Presidential chair. Al 
though he introduced the practice of discussing 
all matters in his Cabinet and deciding questions 
of importance by vote, his powerful individuality 
and persuasive reasoning controlling his advisers 
in his official family and in Congress. He exer 
cised an influence in both houses of the national 
legislature and with the people that has never been 
equalled by any of his successors. He formed a 
powerful party, he directed its action, and he se- 

164 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

lected its principles, but he never assumed the 
attitude of a "boss." He remained in the back 
ground, sheltered by the dignity of his office. He 
worked with singular silence and mystery, com 
municated his wishes to those who were loyal to 
him, and selected those who were able to carry 
them out with the greatest sagacity. There has 
never been a more subtle or skilful strategist in 
American politics; there has never been a more 
accurate observer of public sentiment nor a better 
judge of human nature. yGallatin, his Secretary 
of the Treasury for eigfir years and his intimate 
friend for life, said that Jefferson s greatest weak 
ness was his want of a sense of humor, but at the 
same time it protected him from much mortifica 
tion, because it made him insensible to ridicule.^ 

He differed from Washington in that he was the 
author of nearly all the important state papers 
issued during his administration. John W. Foster 
in his " Century of American Diplomacy 7 says : 
" No other of our public men has so fully im 
pressed his personality upon the country. No one 
has had so great an influence in moulding the 
political sentiments of his countrymen. He had 
serious defects of character, but through these 
shine resplendent his devotion to democratic prin 
ciples and an unfaltering faith in the people." 

It is a curious fact that the founder of the party 
whose creed is that all authority belongs to the 
people alone was the greatest political dictator 
ever known in the United States, but it is equally 
true that the Democratic party has never been suc 
cessful except under the direction and leadership of 
a dictator.^ 

J/With Madison at the head of the Department 

dot State and Gallatin as Secretary of the Treasury, 

President Jefferson s first term was a conspicuous 

165 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

success in the management of both foreign rela 
tions and domestic affairs. He succeeded in quiet 
ing the prejudices of the Federalists and winning 
the confidence of the commercial interests of the 
country, while the annexation of Louisiana Terri 
tory was the crowning triumph^y Even Massa 
chusetts, the nursery of Federalism, gave him its 
electoral vote at the second election, when the re 
sult was a personal rather than a political victory. 
yj/ Jefferson was then the idol of the nation ; he had 
/A vindicated himself from the suspicions of the Fed 
eralists and from the slanders of the Federalist 
newspapers. Yet he said he was anxious to retire 
from public life at the end of his fourth year. He 
was weary of the cares of office and the persecu-^ 
tions of the politicians. He wrote Adams, " He 
is the happiest man of whom the world says the 
least, good or bad." His philosophy was sorely 
tried by his perplexities in dispensing patronage, 
as has been the experience of every President. 
" Every office becoming vacant," he said, " every 
appointment made, means one ingrate and a hun 
dred enemies." General Grant s estimate was more 
moderate; he considered that he made thirteen 
enemies by every appointment. 
\Y Among the fundamental principles of the Jeffer- 
sonian school of politics were rotation in office and 
a single term of the Presidency. Jefferson was 
very much dissatisfied because they were omitted 
from the Constitution, and criticised General 
Washington for accepting a reelection. But as his 
first term was approaching an end we find him 
scheming for a renomination and justifying it. on 
the ground that his work was incomplet&^Tlt was 
necessary for him to remain in office until the 
authority of the people was recognized and obeyed. 
To the public he said : "I sincerely regret that the 

1 66 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

unbounded calumnies of the Federal party have 
obliged me to throw myself on the verdict of my 
country for trial. My great desire having been 
to retire at the end of my present term to a life 
of tranquillity, and it was my decided purpose 
when I entered the office." To John Rutledge he 
wrote : " Without concert or expectation on my 
part, my name was again brought forward. On 
my salvation I declare it. I have no ambition 
to govern men, no passion which would lead me 
to ride in a storm." At the same time he was 
informing his political managers that he would 
not permit himself to be driven out of politics by 
the criticism of his official conduct. 

Jefferson was always protesting against being 
/pressed into public service ; he was always express 
ing a desire to escape honors and evade responsi 
bilities, yet he never declined a nomination, ac 
cepting every office that was tendered him and 
every honor that came in his way. He continually 
wrote his daughters and his friends of his desire 
to return to the tranquillity of his farm and home, 
and at the same time we know by abundant evi 
dence that he was as eager to retain his power 
and as anxious to continue his leadership as any 
politician that ever lived. Perhaps his vehement 
protestations to John Rutledge and others were 
intended to deceive his own conscience as well 
as his friends, for when the caucus of Republicans, 
or Democrats, as they were afterwards called, 
absolutely under his influence, and with his consent, 
nominated him for a second term he disregarded 
his own teachings and was punished by another 
term of office which brought him nothing but care, 
humiliation, and sorrow. %( 

When the election took place his influence and 
popularity were demonstrated beyond his expecta- 

167 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

tion. It was an overwhelming victory, the greatest 
ever enjoyed by any political party in the United 
States. Jefferson received one hundred and sixty- 
two out of one hundred and seventy-six votes in 
the electoral college, while he had received but 
seventy-three out of one hundred and thirty-eight 
at the previous election, y He was easily elated, 
and the flattery of the popular vote excited his 
vanity more than anything that could have oc 
curred. He wrote a friend at this time that under 
his conciliatory influence the two political parties 
" had almost melted into one." He found himself 
not only the recognized leader of four-fifths of the 
people, but possessing the most complete and ab 
solute authority ever exercised by a President of 
the United States.^KIn tnfe Louisiana Territory he 
ruled with despotic powerX His second inaugural 
address was a shout of triumph. After his death 
there was found among his manuscripts a memo 
randum to the effect that in his first message he had 
declared the principles which were to guide him 
in his administration of the government, and in 
the second inaugural he proclaimed their success 
and the results they had accomplished. He boasted 
that he had made democracy respectable in the 
eyes of the world. ^1 

But he soon began to have trouble in Congress 
and in the Democratic party. Because of excessive 
numbers it divided. The same phenomenon has 
occurred since. Wise politicians fear too large a 
majority in any cause. An excess of leaders al 
ways provokes dissension. In 1805 for that reason 
the Democrats began to split into factions. The 
old Republicans of 1798 and 1800, the original 
founders and leaders of the party, began to criti 
cise and resent the activity and aggressiveness of 
recent recruits, and showed a determination to 

168 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

fight for the control of the organization they had 
founded. An imprudent act on the part of Gideori 
Granger, Postmaster-General, in accepting a fee to 
promote the passage of a land bill then pending 
in Congress, involved the administration in these 
factional fights and afforded an opportunity for 
Jefferson s enemies to drag him into the quarrel. 
The feeling was so intense that the two sons-in- 
law of the President, Randolph and Eppes, were 
impelled to vote against his wishes. A shadow of 
corruption was thrown over the entire adminis 
tration. Then foreign affairs assumed a threaten 
ing look. When he tried to buy Florida he found 
himself involved in complications with Spain, 
France, and England. Then he became possessed 
of a mania to pay the public debt before the close 
of his administration. This idea took control of 
his mind and appeared to monopolize it. Every 
line of policy, every official act, seemed to be 
governed by its possible effect upon the public 
treasury, and in order to avoid unnecessary ex 
penditures for defence and armament Jefferson re 
versed the policy he had pursued from the begin 
ning of his public career, abandoned his bold and 
independent attitude towards the European powers, 
and permitted Spain to insult and humiliate the 
United States. If he had defied Spain, war might 
have been declared, but he would have been sup 
ported by the unanimous sentiment of the country 
and assumed the leadership of a great popular 
movement that would have outlasted the century; 
but he took the ground that the country could 
better suffer a loss of dignity than waste its money 
on a war, and from that time, as the French min 
ister wrote his government, Jefferson s adminis 
tration " allowed itself to be outraged every day 
and accepted all the humiliation offered." 

169 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

" If we go to war now," Jefferson said, " I fear 
we may renounce forever the hope of seeing an 
end of our national debt. If we can keep at peace 
eight years longer, our income, liberated from debt 
will be adequate to any war." That was the key 
to his policy. He declared that under no circum 
stances would he consent to war; he would close 
the ports of his country, abandon her commerce, 
shut up the people like the Chinese, and let the 
world outside kill each other as much as they 
liked. At the same time, fearing that his benevo 
lent purpose would be ridiculed by foreign nations 
and bring him into contempt with his own people, 
he decided to adopt two policies, one_ publjc^ to 
satisfy the belligerent spirit that had been aroused 
in the country and to impress foreign nations, and 
the other secret, by which he expected to reconcile 
his differences with France and Spain and buy 
peace. He wrote two messages to Congress and 
framed the two replies which he wished Congress 
to return to him, one public and one secret. The 
public resolution " pledged the lives and fortunes 
of the people to maintain the dignity of the coun 
try against the aggressions of foreign nations" and 
appropriated all the money in the Treasury for that 
purpose. The secret resolution authorized him to 
purchase peace at any price and provided the 
money. 

THese resolutions and messages were referred 
to a committee of which John Randolph, his bit 
terest enemy, was chairman. Instead of making 
the situation clear, Jefferson confused it the more 
and convicted himself of duplicity. The resolu 
tions he prepared were suppressed, the committee 
refused to recommend an appropriation for the 
purchase of Florida, and reported resolutions which 
were an insult to Spain and intended to provoke 

170 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

war. The frightened President went to the Capitol 
in person, rallied his forces, defeated the opposition 
under Randolph, and secured authority and an 
appropriation for the purchase of all the Spanish 
territory north of the Rio Grande. It was a costly 
victory and the end of his influence. He saw his 
most devoted followers waver in their allegiance: 
he was compelled to temporize with his enemies 
and to endure private taunts and public humilia 
tion. He felt keenly the disrespect with which 
he was treated by members of Congress who only 
a few months before were eager for his ap 
proval. He began to write melancholy complaints 
that his friends were repaying his kindness with 
ingratitude, that those whom he had elevated were 
trying to tear the laurels from his brow, and that 
an ungrateful country no longer appreciated his 
services. 

He tried to divert the mind of the country from 
war by recommending Congress to abolish the 
slave-trade, to build a national system of roads 
and canals, to found a national university, to for 
tify the coast and organize a national militia, and 
introduced various other propositions; but they 
made no impression. The insults of England, 
France, and Spain were too keenly felt by the 
public to accept any diversion, and the political 
divisions in Congress were too wide to heal. 
\Y As Jefferson s troubles increased he became less 
and less competent to meet them. There was an 
extraordinary change in his disposition and 
methods. He lost his physical, mental, and moral 
vigor. His self-reliance, which had been one of his 
most striking characteristics, disappeared. He be 
came indifferent to public sentiment and ignored 
attacks which would have aroused his impulsive 
nature to instant retaliation had they occurred dur- 

171 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

ing the first term of his Presidency. Towards 
the end of his term he even declined to exercise 
his official authority, and did what no other Presi 
dent ever thought of doing or even conceived that 
he had a right to do, threw the burden and respon 
sibility of the government upon his successor&say- 
ing : "I have thought it right to take no part in 
proposing measures, the execution of which will 
devolve upon my successor. Our situation is truly 
difficult. We have been pressed by the belligerents 
to the very wall, and all further retreat is imprac 
ticable." It was the truth. As Henry Adams says 
in his life of Gallatin, " There seems to have been 
no form of insult which Mr. Jefferson and his 
administration did not swallow, and between the 
xquisitely exasperating satire of Mr. Canning 
the British Premier) and the peremptory brutal- 
ty of Bonaparte he was almost extinguished." 

Fortunately Madison, the President-elect, was 
he head of the Cabinet, and he was " very slow 
n taking ground, but very firm when the storm 
arises." He took control of affairs, with the ad- 
ice and aid of Gallatin, the Secretary of the Treas 
ury, and during the next few months, until his 
>wn inauguration, directed the policy of the gov 
ernment in Jefferson s name. On two subjects, 
lowever, Jefferson was firm. On all others he was 
weak. He was determined to avoid war and debt, 
rle would submit to any humiliation, he would 
adopt any other measures, but he would not fight or 
)orrow money. The complaints made of him were 
imilar to that which caused him so much distress 
while he was Governor of Virginia. He refused 
o provide for the defence of the country, and 
would not permit the expenditure of money for 
nunitions of war, although American seamen were 
)eing impressed into the British service and Amer- 

172 



JEFFERSON IN OFFICE 

ican vessels were being fired upon by British priva 
teers. He became a monomaniac on the subject 
of the payment of the public debt. 

When Congress met for its last term during his 
Presidency Mr. Jefferson submitted a milk-and- 
water message in which he proposed no policy and 
avoided the expression of an opinion. Taken apart 
from its surroundings and read without the signa 
ture no one would have attributed the authorship 
to him. This threw a divided and distracted Con 
gress into even greater disorder, and, fearing that 
the Federalists might seize control, Madison and 
Gallatin made a formal appeal to the President, 
begging him to adopj^"some precise and distinct 
course."// They were themselves undetermined as 
to the rest policy to pursue, but were willing to 
support Jefferson in any measure " so that we may 
point out a decisive course either way to our 
friends." But Jefferson declined to take the re 
sponsibility and described himself as " an unmed- 
dleing listener." Realizing that something must 
be done to reunite the party in Congress, to retain 
the respect of foreign nations, and to secure sup 
port for the incoming administration, they asked 
Congress in his name for further authority to en 
force the " embargo," and a law, famous in history 
as the " Enforcement Act," was rushed through in 
secret session. It was denounced as unjust, op 
pressive, unconstitutional, and tyrannical, and one 
year before Jefferson would not have tolerated such 
an arbitrary measure for a moment; but Madison 
arid Gallatin believed it necessary for the salvation 
of the administration and the safety of the country. 
To avoid friction with England and France, Ameri 
can shipowners were required to tie up their ves 
sels. Jefferson offered the ingenious justification 
that it was better for our ships to remain in port, 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

where they were safe, rather than expose them 
selves to the dangers of the sea. 

But the people would not submit. Actuated 
by a desire to earn an honest living, and inspired 
by a patriotism and courage which the President 
did not show, the shipmasters of New England 
were willing to defy the British privateers and take 
their chances. They demanded a right to do so, 
and Congress repealed the Enforcement Act after 
three months of stormy debate, in which a few 
of Jefferson s friends stood loyally by him in Con 
gress and defended his administration with inge 
nuity, eloquence, and a sacrifice of reputation. The 
two political parties had completely changed places. 
The Democrats in defending the administration 
were compelled to justify a policy of centralization 
which they had always opposed, while the Feder 
alists stood on the doctrine of State rights and 
demanded liberty of action for shipowners. 
/ Jefferson seemed to be in a daze. The policy 
pursued during the last few months of his Presi 
dency was a contradiction of all his arguments, 
theories, and doctrines, and he was as eager to 
leave the White House as he had been to enter 
it eight years before. He surveyed the wreck of 
his administration with a sorrow that did not leave 
him to the end of his days. His disappointment 
and humiliation were keen, his influence in Con 
gress was forfeited, yet his personal popularity was 
not seriously affected. The great majority of the 
nation believed in him and considered him the 
greatest, the wisest, and the most virtuous of states 
men. But John Randolph of Roanoke said, " Never 
has there been an administration which went out 
of office and left the nation in a state so deplorable 
and calamitous." 






VI 

THE EXPANSIONIST OF 1803 

IN no part of his public experience has Jeffer 
son s skill as a politician or his broad statesmanship 
been illustrated in such a striking manner as in 
connection with the treaty for the annexation of 
the Louisiana Territory to the United States. It 
was the greatest triumph of his career, Land it 
seems inexplicable that he did not include it in 
his epitaph, which mentions but three of his 
achievements. It was without question the great 
est benefit he" 1 conferred upon his country, and 
contributed more to his honor than any other in 
cident or public act with which he was connected. 
At the same time it was the first instance in which 
a President of the United States ever used his 
personal and political influence to crowd through 
Congress, under a gag law, an act which he him 
self declared unconstitutional; and for his justi-- 
fication Jefferson believed confidently that the wis 
dom of his course would be recognized and ap 
proved by all generations as ;t has been. 

i jrle did not originate the project, nor was he 
the author of the scheme. ~~ So far back as the Revo 
lution the necessity of owning a trading-post at 
the mouth of the Mississippi became apparent, and 
until 1800, when the Territory was retroceded to 
France by Spain, our ministers to that country 
were vainly endeavoring to secure such an ar 
rangement. As soon as Jefferson learned that 
Spain had transferred the title, Livingston was in- 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

structed to approach the French government with 
an offer to purchase New Orleans and the Floridas. 
He made slow work of it, and Jefferson s anx 
iety became so great that he sent Monroe to Paris 
to assist in the negotiations. / 

Fortunately for the Unitea States, Napoleon was 
injmost embarrassing complications. The French 
possessions at the mouth of the Mississippi were 
a source of weakness instead of strength the mo 
ment he went to war with England, and, further 
more, he was desperately in need 7 of money. Hav 
ing no confidence in the personal honesty of 
Talleyrand, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Na 
poleon entrusted the negotiations to M. Marbois, 
his Minister of Finance, who had an American 
wife, had lived several years in the United States, 
and was on friendly terms with Livingston and 
Monroe. The envoys had been instructed to pur 
chase only the Island of New Orleans or some 
other location near the mouth of the Mississippi 
equally favorable, but Marbois offered them the 
entire French possessions in America for one hun 
dred million francs, and, as they learned after 
wards, it was just twice the amount fixed by Napo 
leon himself. After several days of negotiation 
the contract was closed, and it was agreed that the 
United States should pay sixty million francs for 
the Territory and* assume all the claims of Ameri 
can citizens against France growing out of the dep 
redations of her privateers, which then amounted 
to about twenty millions of francs, and which, by 
the way, were not settled for nearly a hundred 
years afterwards. 

It was wise for Napoleon to sell the property; 
it was wiser for the United States to buy it; and 
while Jefferson took great pride in the achieve 
ment, he was exceedingly anxious to avoid a dis- 

176 



THE EXPANSIONIST OF 1803 

cussion of the legal points involved, because he 
believed the entire proceeding to be unconstitu 
tional. Here the spirit of the politician dominated 
the conscience of the lawyer, and under his direc 
tion the ratification of the treaty by Congress was 
accomplished with marvellous skill and speed. Only 
one day was allowed for debate in either house, 
and within four days after Congress assembled the 
emergency was passed and the ratifications ex 
changed and proclaimed to the public. Both houses 
approved the project by large majorities. Al 
though Hamilton, Morris, and other of the Feder 
alist leaders favored the annexation of the Territory 
and approved the ratification of the treaty, the 
political animosities of the time and their antago 
nism towards Jefferson s administration would not 
permit them to allow it to pass without making 
some pertinent as well as some impertinent sug- 
gestions.T^During the limited hour for debate they 
raised several interesting points, including, first, 
whether it was constitutional to acquire territory, 
and, second, what should be done with it when 
acquired ? 

Jefferson groped around in all directions seek 
ing consolation for his conscience, and arguments 
by which he might sustain himself before the peo 
ple and justify his unconstitutional proceedings. 
It was a solemn subject of conference in the Cabi 
net, and many anxious hours were spent in dis 
cussing various devices to relieve the dilemma. 
Jefferson himself proposed most of them, for he 
had an ingenious mind, and was determined to 
escape the charge of inconsistency with as little 
damage as possible. 

In a letter to Senator Breckenridge, August 12, 
1803, he said: "This treaty must of course be 
laid before both houses, because both have im- 

177 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

portant functions to exercise respecting it. They, 
I presume, will see their duty to their country in 
ratifying and paying for it, so as to secure a good 
which would otherwise probably be never again 
in their power. But I suppose they must then 
appeal to the nation for an additional article to 
the Constitution approving and confirming an act 
which the nation had not previously authorized. 
The Constitution has made no provision for our 
holding foreign territory, and still less for incor 
porating foreign nations into our own. The Ex 
ecutive in seizing the fugitive occurrence (Louisi 
ana purchase) which so much advances the good 
of their country, have done an act beyond the Con 
stitution. But we shall not be disavowed by the 
nation, and their acts of indemnity will confirm 
and not weaken the Constitution, by more strongly 
marking out its lines." 

On August 1 8 we find Jefferson writing to 
Breckenridge again, and this time showing a modi 
fication of the views expressed in his letter of the 
previous week. He says : " I wrote you on the 
1 2th instant on the subject of Louisiana and the 
constitutional provision which might be necessary 
for it. A letter received yesterday shows that noth 
ing must be said on that subject which may give 
a pretext for retraction, but that we should do 
sub silentio what shall be found necessary." 

Wilson Cary Nicholas, a warm personal and 
political friend of Jefferson, conferred with him 
upon the constitutional question, and early in Sep 
tember wrote Jefferson a letter in which he declared 
that upon an examination of the Constitution he 
" found the power as broad as it could well be 
made, except that new states can not be formed 
out of old ones without the consent of the states 
to be dismembered." 

178 



THE EXPANSIONIST OF 1803 

On September 7, 1803, Jefferson, in reply, wrote 
to Nicholas : " I am aware of the force of the 
observations you make on the power given by 
the Constitution to Congress to admit new States 
into the Union without restraining the subject to 
the territory then constituting the United States. 
But when I consider that the limits of the United 
States are precisely fixed by the treaty of 1783, 
that the Constitution expressly declares itself to 
be made for the United States, I can not help 
believing that the intention was to permit Congress 
to admit into the Union new States which should 
be formed out of the territory for which and under 
whose authority alone they were then acting. I 
do not believe it was meant that they might re 
ceive England, Ireland, Holland, etc., into it, which 
would be the case under your construction. When 
an instrument admits two constructions, the one 
safe, the other dangerous, the one precise, the other 
indefinite, I prefer that which is safe and precise. 
I had rather ask an enlargement of power from 
the nation where it is found necessary than to 
assume it by a construction which would make 
our powers boundless." 

He desired to repair the mutilation he had made 
in " the bulwark of our liberties," and proposed 
two retroactive amendments authorizing him to 
do what he had already done, or, as he put it, 
" appeal to the nation for an additional article to 
the Constitution, approving and confirming an act 
which the nation had not previously authorized. 
The Constitution," he said, " has made no pro 
vision for our holding foreign territory, still less 
for incorporating foreign nations into our Union," 
but he was confident that the people would justify 
it because " it so much advances the good of the 
country." He actually prepared such an amend- 

179 



HE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

ment, reading : " Louisiana, as ceded by France 
to the United States, is hereby made a part of 
the United States," but fortunately yielded to the 
advice of friends who convinced him of the ab 
surdity of the proposition. If the Constitution 
could be mended every time anyone punched a hole 
in it, they suggested that such liberties would be 
frequently taken. 

In the midst of his anxiety came a despatch 
from Paris which effectually dissipated all of Jef 
ferson s conscientious scruples. Livingston de 
scribed the tremendous opposition which had de 
veloped in France to the cession of the Territory, 
and was so alarmed lest Napoleon might withdraw 
from the bargain that Jefferson was determined 
to ratify the treaty at once, Constitution or no 
Constitution, and to do it before anybody could 
interpose objections. To Madison, then Secretary 
of State, he wrote, " The less we say about the 
constitutional difficulties respecting Louisiana, the 
better, and what is necessary for surmounting them 
must be done Sub Silentio." 

By the time Congress had assembled Jefferson s 
doubt as to the constitutional power of admitting 
the new Territory into the Union seems to have 
vanished. He does not appear to have believed, 
however, that the Territory had become incor 
porated into the Union or would become so incor 
porated by virtue of the mere treaty of cession. 
In his message to Congress, transmitted on October 
17, he referred to that body the subject of govern 
ment of the Territory, as well as its incorporation 
into the Union, saying, " With the wisdom of Con 
gress it will rest to take those ulterior measures 
which may be necessary for the immediate occupa 
tion and temporary government of the country; 
for its incorporation into the Union." 

180 



THE EXPANSIONIST OF 1803 

Everything went through as he would wish it. 
His triumph was complete. The French flag was 
hauled down at New Orleans and the American 
flag was raised to the top of the same staff, while 
a battery fired two salutes in honor of the friendly 
nations. 

Jefferson was a far-sighted man, and compre 
hensive in his ideas of the future wealth and power 
of his country. On the future greatness of the 
United States he said : " I do believe we will con-? 
tinue to grow, to multiply and prosper until we 
exhibit an association, powerful, wise and happy, 
beyond what has yet been seen by men." " Not 
in our day, but at no distant one, we may shake 
a rod over the heads of all (the European nations), 
which may make the stoutest of them tremble, but 
I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and 
teach us, that the less we use our power the greater 
will it be." His pride in his country appears in 
a letter to an English lady, Mrs. Cosway, in which 
he says : " There is not a country on earth where 
there is greater tranquillity; where the laws are 
milder, or better obeyed ; where everyone is more 
attentive to his own business or meddles less with 
that of others ; where strangers are better received, 
more hospitably treated and with more sacred re 
spect." 

No one measured more accurately than he the 
importance of the annexation of Louisiana to the 
infant nation. No one saw so far into the future, 
and he immediately set about his preparations for 
an expedition to explore the great country he had 
purchased. In a confidential message to Congress 
Jefferson proposed the Lewis and Clarke expedition 
to the western ocean, basing it upon the interests 
of commerce, and asking an appropriation of two 
thousand five hundred dollars " for the purpose 

181 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

of extending the external commerce of the United 
States." Congress appropriated five thousand dol 
lars. Captain Meriwether Lewis, who was se 
lected to command, was his private secretary and 
the son of a neighbor of Jefferson s. In addition 
to the money furnished, Jefferson wrote Lewis the 
following authority to draw for funds : " In the 
journey you are about to undertake, should you 
reach the Pacific Ocean and be without money, 
your resource can only be the credit of the United 
States, for which purpose I hereby authorize you 
to draw on the Secretaries of State, of the Treas 
ury, of War and of the Navy of the United States, 
according as you may find your drafts will be most 
negotiable." 

The attack of Jefferson upon his own conscience 
in connection with the annexation of Louisiana was 
shortly followed by another exhibition of incon 
sistency that is perhaps the most remarkable in his 
entire career. Evidently without reflecting upon 
its apparent violation of his democratic principles, 
he prepared a plan for the government of the new 
Territory without the consent of the governed. 
He proposed to place it under a centralized author 
ity as complete and offensive as any he had ever 
condemned. He made no provision for the pro 
tection of the lives and liberties of the people, he 
allowed them no voice in the control of their own 
affairs, not even the ordinary right of suffrage, 
but endowed the President with all the monarchial 
authority exercised by the old Spanish viceroys, 
an odd position for a democrat who had preached 
so eloquently and so often that all authority and 
power rested with the people. But he justified 
himself on the theory that he was seeking the good 
of the people and executing their will. 

Thomas H. Benton said of Jefferson s plan for 
182 



THE EXPANSIONIST OF 1803 

a government of Louisiana : " It was a startling 
bill continuing the existing methods of the Spanish 
government ; putting the President in the place of 
the King of Spain ; putting all the territorial offi 
cers in the place of the king s officers and placing 
the appointments of all those officers in the Presi 
dent alone without reference to the Senate. Noth 
ing could be more incompatible with our constitu 
tion than such a government, a mere emanation 
of Spanish despotism in which all power civil and 
military, legislative, executive and judicial was in 
the intendente general representing the king, and 
which the people, far from possessing political 
rights, were punishable arbitrarily for presuming 
to meddle with political subjects." 

To those who criticised, the Republicans replied 
with the same arguments as were used in 1900, 
that the Constitution was made for the States and 
not for the Territories, and that Congress could 
do anything it pleased with the Territories. 

A portion of his plan was adopted by Congress, 
but it proved so offensive that it was soon repealed 
for one more in harmony with a republican form 
of government. President Jefferson made no 
reference to the constitutional difficulties of the 
situation in any of his messages to Congress, but 
continued to refer to the subject in his private 
correspondence, and defended his course with his 
remarkable ability. A President of narrower views 
might have changed the entire destiny of the 
American republic, and it is fortunate that so 
able and courageous a man as Jefferson was in 
the executive chair, willing to subordinate his per 
sonal opinions to the will and good of the nation. 

Happily not all of Jefferson s recommendations 
concerning the new possession were carried out, 
for he invented a list of absurd classical names 

183 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

from Greek derivation for the States to be carved 
out of the Louisiana Territory, and we should have 
upon the map of the United States, Sylvania, 
Michigania, Chersonesus, Assenisipia, Metropp- 
tamia, Illinoia, Saratoga, Polypotamia, Pelispia, 
instead of the present names of the States west 
and northwest of Virginia. 

On reviewing Jefferson s record it will be seen 
that he was a natural expansionist. In a letter to 
Monroe in 1801 he said, " However our present 
interests may restrain us within our own limits, 
it is impossible not to look forward to distant 
times, when our rapid multiplication will expand 
itself beyond those limits, and cover the whole 
northern if not the southern continent." He was 
one of the earliest advocates of the annexation 
of Florida and favored the annexation of Cuba. 
In 1791, in a letter to Washington, he refers to 
a proclamation of Quesada, the Spanish governor, 
inviting foreign settlers to Florida, as follows : 
" This is meant for our people. I wish a hundred 
thousand of our inhabitants would accept the invi 
tation. It will be the means of delivering to us 
secretly what may otherwise cost us a war. In 
the meantime," he says, with the cunning of a 
Jesuit, " we may complain of this seduction of 
our inhabitants just enough to make them believe 
we think it very wise policy for them and confirm 
them in it." 

The acquisition of Louisiana made him eager 
to secure Florida, and in his " Anas" he states that 
in October, 1803, it was agreed at a Cabinet meet 
ing that Monroe, then minister at Paris, should 
be instructed to purchase that territory of Spain. 
If that was impossible, he proposed to seize it 
by force on the pretext that England would do 
so if the United States did not. From his re- 

184 



THE EXPANSIONIST OF 1803 

tirement at Monticello he urged Congress to au 
thorize the President to take possession of Florida 
in January, 1811, "with a declaration, first, that 
it is a reprisal for indemnities Spain has acknowl 
edged to be due us; second, to keep it from fall 
ing into hands in which it would essentially en 
danger our safety; third, that in our hands it 
will still be held as a subject of negotiation." He 
writes his son-in-law, J. W. Eppes, who was a 
member of Congress from Virginia, " The leading 
republican members should come to an understand 
ing, close the doors, and determine not to separate 
until the vote is carried, and all the secrecy we 
can enjoin should be aimed at until the measure 
is executed." 

Jefferson being, as mentioned, an earnest ad 
vocate of the annexation of Cuba, wrote to Presi 
dent Monroe in 1823 : " I candidly confess that 
I have looked on Cuba as the most interesting 
addition which could ever be made to our system 
of States. The control which with Florida point 
this island would give us over the Gulf of Mexico 
and the countries and isthmus bordering on it, 
as well as those whose waters flow into it, would 
fill up the measure of our political wellbeing." 

Jefferson would, however, have objected to the 
annexation of the Philippines and the Hawaiian 
Islands, for he said : " Cuba can be defended by 
us without a navy, and this developes the principle 
which ought to limit our views. Nothing should 
ever be accepted which would require a navy to 
. defend it." 



185 



VII 

" JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY" 

THE inauguration of Jefferson as President of 
the United States was attended with as much pomp 
and ceremony as the physical conditions would 
permit. Washington was then a village, with a 
few thousand inhabitants scattered over a large 
area, which provoked satirists to call it " A City 
of Magnificent Distances." The story of his going 
to the Capitol on horseback unattended, and hitch 
ing his horse to the " palisades" while he was 
taking the oath of office as President, is a pleasant 
fiction, first published by an English tourist named 
John Davis, who wrote a book concerning his 
experiences and observations in this country. Mr. 
Davis spent a winter in Washington, and, like all 
foreigners, was amazed at the simplicity of our 
government. Unfortunately for the accuracy of 
his narrative, at his boarding-house he fell into 
the society of several wags, who imposed upon his 
credulity by relating absurd anecdotes of the Presi 
dent and others in authority which he conscien 
tiously noted down and afterwards published as 
facts. At the inauguration of his successor Jeffer 
son rode from the White House to the Capitol 
on horseback with an escort of cavalry. At the 
close of the ceremonies, in order that Madison 
might have all the glory to himself, he slipped 
away quietly, remounted his horse, and rode to a 
boarding-house in Georgetown, accompanied only 
by his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, who 
is the authority for the story. 

186 



< < JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY f 

As President, Jefferson had a fine coach drawn 
by four magnificent horses, for which he paid 
sixteen hundred dollars, a very large sum in those 
days, and his coachman and footman were clad 
in livery similar to that used by the nobility in 
Paris and London, but the vehicle was seldom 
used because the streets of Washington were un- 
paved and muddy and there was little occasion 
for it. He was proud of his horses, and, being 
a fearless rider, seldom bestrode any but animals 
of high mettle and of his own breeding. His 
favorite was a thoroughbred gelding called " Wild 
Air." He preferred his saddle to a carriage be 
cause it gave him exercise. While President he 
rode daily for two hours in the neighborhood of 
Washington and frequently dropped in at the 
Capitol to confer with his friends in Congress. In 
those days it was common for members of Con 
gress living in Georgetown to go to the Capitol 
on horseback, and a shed was erected for the 
accommodation of their animals. Jefferson usu 
ally took advantage of this convenience and tied 
his horse to a peg before he entered the building. 
This might be the foundation for the Davis anec 
dote. On his journeys to Monticello he usually 
rode horseback, but had a sulky, or what he called 
a " horse-chair," of his own contrivance, a two- 
wheeled vehicle with a comfortable seat that was 
well adapted to the rude roads. Sometimes he 
went down the Potomac and up the James River 
to Richmond, where his horses or carriage met 
him. On one or two occasions he made the jour 
ney by way of Fredericksburg in a similar manner. 

At the time of his inauguration Jefferson was 
living at Conrad s boarding-house, which still 
stands on New Jersey Avenue not far from the 
Capitol, in the same rooms he had occupied during 

187 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

his term as Vice-President, and from there he 
was escorted to the Capitol by a battalion of sol 
diers on foot, while a salute of honor was fired 
by a battery from Alexandria. He walked between 
Samuel Dexter, of Massachusetts, Secretary of 
the Treasury, and Benjamin Stoddard, of Mary 
land, Secretary of the Navy, the only members 
of President Adams s Cabinet who had the de 
cency to remain in Washington. The retiring 
President, in childish pique, and to the humiliation 
of his friends, before daylight on inauguration day 
fled like a fugitive by carriage to Baltimore to 
avoid the disagreeable duty of assisting at the in 
stallation of the man who had defeated him; 
and after his encounter with Levi Lincoln over 
the midnight judges, John Marshall had laid down 
the portfolio of Secretary of State, and had taken 
the oath of office as Chief- Justice of the Supreme 
Court. 

The north wing of the Capitol was nearly com 
pleted at this time, and Jefferson, surrounded by 
his political friends, was received upon the por 
tico by Colonel Burr, who had arrived at Wash 
ington a day or two previous and had been sworn 
in as Vice-President that morning. Jefferson con 
sidered the appointment of John Marshall to be 
Chief- Justice so near the expiration of the term 
of President Adams as not only an impropriety 
but a personal affront to himself. It was there 
fore a dramatic situation when Marshall appeared 
upon the steps of the Capitol wearing for the first 
time the robes of the Chief- Justice to perform his 
first official duty, and require Thomas Jefferson 
to make oath that to the best of his ability he 
would " preserve, protect and defend the Consti 
tution of the United States" a difference as to 
the mea ning of certain clauses in the Constitution 

188 



"JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY" 

being the chief cause of the antagonism between 
the new President and the new Chief- Justice and 
upon which thereafter they were never able to 
agree. No one in all the list of public men was 
so obnoxious to Jefferson, but it was natural for 
them both, as gentlemen of dignity, to accept the 
situation. 

After taking the oath of office in the presence 
of the public Jefferson was escorted to the desk 
of the presiding officer of the Senate in the room 
now occupied by the Supreme Court, and was 
seated between Colonel Burr and Judge Marshall. 
After a short pause, at a signal from the sergeant- 
at-arms, he arose and delivered his first inaugural 
address, in what the spectators called " an inaudible 
voice." / As already mentioned, he had a consti- j 
tutional defect in his throat which precluded him 
from public speaking. At the close of the cere 
mony he was escorted back to Conrad s boarding- 
house, w r here he received the congratulations of 
the foreign ministers, the members of Congress, 
other public officials, and citizens of Washington 
generally. He did not occupy the White House 
until May, probably because of its lack of proper 
furnishings and his absence from the city.y 

Although Senator Maclay, of Pennsylvania, de 
scribed his manner as of " a lofty gravity," other 
witnesses, writing at the time, tell us that the 
chief figure at the inauguration of the third Presi 
dent was " decidedly unkempt in hair and toilet," 
and that his clothes were " shabby." He made 
no preparation for the ceremony so far as his ap 
pearance was concerned. His indifference was os 
tentatious and evidently intended to cause com 
ment. Augustus Foster, secretary of the British 
legation, describes him as " a tall man with a very 
red, freckled face and gray neglected hair; his 

189 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

manners good-natured, frank and rather comely, 
although he had somewhat of a cynical expression 
of countenance. He wore a blue coat, a thick 
gray colored waistcoat, with a red underwaistcoat 
lapped over it, green velveteen breeches with pearl 
buttons, yarn stockings and slippers down at the 
heel, his appearance being much like that of a 
tall large boned farmer." Jefferson s " democratic 
simplicity" was affectation; it was part of his 
political policy to dress badly, although he did not 
adopt it until he was elected President. 

While minister to France he lived in great ele 
gance. His entertainments were bountiful and 
frequent. He expended his entire salary and drew 
largely upon his private resources to maintain an 
appearance befitting his position. No representa 
tive of the United States at the French capital 
has ever done greater credit to himself and to his 
country by his intelligence, his deportment, and 
his hospitality. He was regarded as one of the 
most elegant of gentlemen, a striking contrast 
with the Jefferson who afterwards occupied the 
White House. On occasion he was even a courtier 
and knew how to pay a compliment as well as any 
Frenchman, as his correspondence shows. 

While a member of Congress and Secretary of 
State in Philadelphia he kept quite an elegant es 
tablishment in the suburbs, near Gray s Ferry, 
five horses and five men-servants in livery, in 
cluding a French butler named Petit, brought from 
Paris. He afterwards imported a French cook, 
who had charge of the kitchen at the White House 
while he was President. His dinners at Philadel 
phia were notable as social events, and there was 
nothing in his habits or his demeanor to correspond 
with the negligence he afterwards assumed. His 
scientific tastes led him into the society of scholars 

190 



JEFFERSONI AN SIMPLICITY 

rather than into the gay world that surrounded 
the republican court, but he was -extremely careful 
that his daughters should learn dancing, music, 
and other social accomplishments from the most 
fashionable preceptors, and showed great solicitude 
about their manners and deportment. His most 
congenial companions in Philadelphia were the 
members of the Philosophical Society, of which 
he afterwards became President. In 1793, while 
he was Secretary of State, he moved to German- 
town to escape an epidemic of yellow fever, and 
complained about his limited quarters and the in 
conveniences to which he was subjected. It was 
this plague that he called a blessing, because he 
thought it would discourage people from living in 
the cities. 

Jefferson was very severe in his criticisms of 
the formalities and elegance of Washington and 
Adams while they were in the Presidency, and 
once sarcastically remarked that he desired to 
escape " the glare of royalty and nobility/ Gen 
eral Washington and John Adams had exalted 
ideas of their office and believed that a certain 
amount of form and ceremony was necessary to 
its dignity. Differing from their opinion, Jeffer 
son assumed a neglect of dress and an indifference 
to the conventional rules of society which he evi 
dently considered necessary to impress the " plain 
people." He abandoned the courtly deportment 
for which he had previously been noted, and 
adopted manners that were offensive to people 
of refined taste. He had written essays on eti 
quette, and had admonished his children upon 
cultivating " the art of politeness." He had in 
troduced into America French cooks, finger-bowls, 
and other fashions which had met with his ap 
proval in Paris, and had observed much formality 

191 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

of manner. He was served by butlers and foot 
men in livery, and was fastidious about his table 
china and plate. 

He was continually cautioning his children and 
grandchildren concerning neatness in dress. To 
his daughter Martha he wrote : " I omitted in that 
letter to advise you on the subject of dress, which 
I know you are a little apt to neglect. I do not 
wish you to be gaily clothed at this time of life, 
but that your wear should be fine of its kind. But 
above all things and at all times let your clothes 
be neat, whole and properly put on. But be you 
from the moment you rise till you go to bed, as 
cleanly and properly dressed as at the hours of 
dinner or tea. A lady who has been seen a sloven 
or slut in the morning will never efface the im 
pression she has made, with all the dress and 
pageantry she may afterwards involve herself in. 
I hope, therefore, the moment you rise from bed, 
your first work will be to dress yourself in such 
style, as that you may be seen by any gentleman 
without his being able to discover a pin amiss, 
or any other circumstance of neatness wanting." 

Speaking of the good qualities of the French 
people he once said, " With respect to what are 
termed polite manners, without sacrificing too much 
the sincerity of language, I would wish my coun 
trymen to adopt just so much of European polite 
ness as to be ready to make all those little sacri 
fices of self, which really render European manners 
amiable, and relieve society from the disagreeable 
scenes to which rudeness often subjects it." At 
another time he wrote : " The article of dress is 
perhaps that in which economy is the least to be 
recommended. Yet, generally, we become slovenly 
in proportion as personal decay requires the con 
trary." Speaking of his appearance at Monticello 

192 




THOMAS JEFFERSON 

( Painted by Gilbert Stuart) 



JEFFERSONI AN SIMPLICITY 

his grandson says : " His manners were of that 
polished school of the Colonial Government so re 
markable in its day under no circumstances vio 
lating any of those minor conventional observances 
which constitute the well bred gentleman, courte 
ous and considerate to all persons. On riding out 
with him when a lad, we met a negro who bowed 
to us; he returned his bow; I did not. Turning 
to me he asked, * Do you permit a negro to be 
more of a gentleman than yourself ? 

As to his own appearance, we have, in addition 
to the several portraits on canvas, painted by Gil 
bert Stuart, Charles Willson Peale, Sully, Otis, 
des Noyers, and other conscientious artists, sev 
eral graphic pen-pictures. Senator Plummer, of 
Massachusetts, says : " He was a man of scholarly 
tastes, wide information and an excellent conver 
sationalist of attractive manners, but was dressed 
in a state of negligence. He was dressed or 
rather undressed, in an old brown coat, red waist 
coat, old courderoy small clothes, much soiled, 
woolen hose and slippers without heels. I thought 
him a servant, when General Varnum surprised 
me by announcing that it was the President." 

Senator Maclay, of Pennsylvania, who was an 
interesting old gossip, said : " He has rather the 
air of stiffness in his manner. His clothes seem 
too small for him. He sits in a lounging manner 
on one hip commonly, and with one of his shoul 
ders elevated much above the other. His face 
has a sunny aspect. His whole figure has a loose, 
shackling air. He has a rambling vacant look, 
and nothing of that firm collected deportment 
which I expected would dignify the presence of 
a secretary or a minister. He spoke almost with 
out ceasing; but even his discourse partook of 
his personal demeanor. It was loose and rambling; 
13 193 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

and yet he scattered information wherever he 
went, and some even brilliant sentiments sparkled 
from him." 

Jefferson s grandson has left us this sketch: 
" Jefferson had red hair and his eyes were hazel. 
His teeth were perfect and, at his death in his 
eighty fourth year, not one of them was defective. 
His skin was exceedingly sensitive, the heat of 
the sun causing it to blister, and he was frequently 
troubled by suffusions of blood, the bursting of 
veins in his face and neck during unusual mus 
cular exertion. But this never caused him any in 
convenience. 

" Mr. Jefferson s stature was commanding six 
feet two and a half inches in height, well formed, 
indicating strength, activity, and robust health; 
his carriage erect; step firm and elastic, which he 
preserved to his death; his temper, naturally 
strong, under perfect control ; his courage cool and 
impassive. No one ever knew him exhibit trepi 
dation. His moral courage of the highest order 
his will firm and inflexible it was remarked of 
him that he never abandoned a plan, a principle 
or a friend. He retained to the last his fondness 
for riding on horseback; he rode within three 
weeks of his death, when, from disease, debility 
and age, he mounted with difficulty. He rode with 
confidence, and never permitted a servant to ac 
company him; he was fond of solitary rides and 
musing, and said that the presence of a servant 
annoyed him. 

" His habits were regular and systematic. He 
was a miser of his time, rose always at dawn, 
wrote and read until breakfast, breakfasted early, 
and dined from three to four, retired at nine, and 
to bed from ten to eleven. He said, in his last 
illness, that the sun had not caught him in bed 

194 



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JEFFERSON S CODE OF ETIQUETTE (autograph) 

(Original in Department of State, Washington) 



OF THE 

UNIVERSITY 

OF 



: 



< JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY 

for fifty years. He always made his own fire. 
He drank water but once a day, a single glass, 
when he returned from his ride. He ate heartily, 
and much vegetable food, preferring French cook 
ing." 

It will be conceded that it was not from any lack 
of knowledge or appreciation of the proprieties that 
President Jefferson was led to adopt the ostenta 
tious " simplicity" which was one of the most 
notable features of his first term, and in the ab 
sence of a definite explanation it must be assumed 
that he had an honest purpose. It is evident that 
he was acting a part; that it was his desire and 
intention to counteract the tendencies towards form 
and ceremony that characterised the administra 
tions of Washington and Adams by furnishing 
as strong a contrast as possible. There is confir 
mation of -this theory in the fact that his "sim 
plicity" programme was not permanent; that it 
was abandoned after a period, when he was satis 
fied that no further danger was to be feared from 
the imitation of what he called "the monarchical 
institutions" of his predecessors. Among the " citi 
zen" leaders of the French Revolution he had seen 
something of the system he introduced, ar 1 perhaps 
was convinced that it was a necessary part of a 
republican form of government. He was deter 
mined not to be a personage, but " Citizen Jeffer 
son" and nothing else. 

The confusion which followed the adoption of 
his democratic plan, however, soon taught him the 
necessity of sufficient rules and regulations to pre 
vent misunderstandings, hence he prepared a code 
of etiquette. This was not the first time he had 
undertaken such a task. "Soon after the govern 
ment was organized General Washington called 
upon Jefferson, with other members of the Cabinet, 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

to submit his ideas on this subject, and he drafted 
an interesting memorandum, the original of which 
is now preserved in the archives of the Department 
of State. But it was too broad and liberal for a 
democratic President, hence, after a consultation 
of his Cabinet, the following code was adopted to 
govern Washington society: 

"i. Residents to pay the first visit to strangers; 
and among strangers, whether native or foreign, 
first comers always first upon later comers. To 
this rule there was allowed one exception : For 
eign ministers, from the necessity of making them 
selves known, pay the first visit to the Secretary 
of State, which is returned/ 

" When brought together in society, all are per 
fectly equal, whether foreign or domestic, titled 
or untitled, in or out of office." 

The President afterwards amplified these rules 
thus: 

" The families of foreign ministers, arriving at 
the seat of government, receive the first visit from 
those of the national ministers, as from all other 
residents. Members of the legislature and of the 
judiciary, independent of their offices, have a right 
as strangers to receive the first visit. No title being 
admitted here, those of foreigners give no prece 
dence. Difference of grade among the diplomatic 
members gives no precedence. 

"At public ceremonies the government invites 
the presence of foreign ministers and their fami 
lies, a convenient seat or station will be provided 
for them, with any other strangers invited, and the 
families of the national ministers, each taking place 
as they arrive, and without any precedence. 

"To maintain the principle of equality, or of 
pele-mele, and prevent the growth of precedence 
out of courtesy, the members of the executive will 

196 



< < JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY 

practice at their own houses, and recommend an 
adherence to the ancient usages of the country of 
gentlemen in mass giving precedence to the ladies 
in mass, in passing from one apartment where they 
are assembled into another." 

Jefferson s critics have always used his treat 
ment of the British minister and other members 
of the diplomatic corps in Washington as evidence 
to sustain the charge that he was a demagogue 
who catered to the prejudices of the ignorant and 
evil minded ; and notwithstanding the explanations 
that have been offered, it cannot be denied that 
he was guilty of inexcusable rudeness towards 
the representative of Great Britain. It was not 
due to ignorance of social etiquette and the cus 
toms of polite society, but was perhaps in a meas 
ure inspired by animosity towards England and 
particularly by a desire to humiliate the repre 
sentative of the King of England in retaliation 
for the insolence which that monarch had shown 
towards him when with Adams he visited the 
Court of St. James on his way home from France. 
Jefferson s hatred of England was due also to 
the belief that the raid of General Arnold in Vir 
ginia during the Revolution caused the death of 
his wife. She was in feeble health when compelled 
to flee from Richmond and shortly after died in 
childbirth. He cherished a deep resentment be 
cause all of his plantations except Monticello were 
plundered by Tarleton s troopers; his growing 
crops were wantonly destroyed ; his live-stock and 
horses were confiscated and the throats of colts too 
young for use were cruelly cut. Thirty of his slaves 
were captured and carried away, not to freedom, 
but to die of small-pox and fever in the British 
camp. He wrote Monroe, " we have more reason 
to hate her than any nation on earth." He wrote 

197 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

William Carmichael, " I considered the English as 
our natural enemy, and as the only nation on earth 
that wish us ill from the bottom of their souls, and 
I am satisfied that were our continent to be swal 
lowed up by the ocean, Great Britain would be 
in a bonfire from one end to the other." To Lafay 
ette he wrote, " England s selfish principles render 
her incapable of honorable patronage or disinter 
ested cooperation." To another he said, " Great 
Britain s governing principles are conquest, colo 
nization, commerce, monopoly." After his retire 
ment from public life he saw things differently, 
and to Thomas Law he wrote, " No man is more 
sensible than myself of the just value of the friend 
ship of Great Britain." To John Randolph, "I 
am sincerely one of those who wish for a reunion 
with the parent country and would rather be in 
dependence on Great Britain than on any nation 
on earth, or than on no nation;" and to James 
Monroe, " No two countries on earth have so many 
points of common interest and friendship, and the 
rulers must be great bunglers if indeed, with such 
disposition they break them asunder." 

If the British minister had been a citizen of the 
United States his treatment would have been in 
excusable from an official of the government how 
ever humble, but as the guest of the nation, and 
the representative of a friendly power, the Presi 
dent of the United States should have been the 
last to deliberately insult him. Jefferson s respect 
for the dignity of his office, if not his self-respect, 
should have prevented such a blunder, for numer 
ous incidents in his career show him to have been 
a man of fine fibre and a keen sense of personal 
dignity and politeness. His grandson says that 
while President he was once returning on horse 
back from Charlottesville to Monticello with a 

198 



" JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY" 

party of gentlemen he had invited to dinner, when 
on reaching a stream where there was no bridge, 
a stranger asked to be taken up on his horse be 
hind him. After Jefferson had put the stranger 
down on dry land and ridden on, one of the guests 
inquired why he had not asked one of the others 
to carry him over. He replied : 

" From their looks I did not like to ask them ; 
but the old gentleman looked as if he would do 
it, so I asked him." 

He was much surprised to hear that he had 
ridden behind the President of the United States. 

According to one of the hackneyed anecdotes 
of his Presidency, " he was riding along a high 
way leading to Washington one day, when he over 
took a man walking towards the city. As was his 
habit, Jefferson drew up his horse and touched 
his hat to the pedestrian. The man returned his 
salutation, and began a conversation, not knowing 
who he was. He at once entered upon the subject 
of politics, as was the habit of the day, and 
began to abuse the President. Jefferson s first im 
pulse was to ride on, but, amused at his own situ 
ation, asked the man if he knew the President 
personally. No/ was the reply, nor do I wish 
to. 

" But do you think it fair/ suggested Jeffer 
son, to repeat such stories about a man whom you 
dare not face? 

" I will never shrink from meeting Mr. Jeffer 
son should he ever come my way/ replied the 
stranger, who proved to be a country merchant of 
high standing from Kentucky. 

" Will you go to his house to-morrow at ten 
o clock and be introduced to him, if I promise to 
meet you there at that hour? asked Jefferson 
eagerly. 

199 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

" Yes, I will/ said the man after a moment s 
thought. 

" With a half-suppressed smile, and excusing 
himself from further conversation, the President 
touched his hat and rode on. Hardly had he dis 
appeared from sight before a suspicion of the truth, 
which he soon verified, flashed through the 
stranger s mind. However, at the appointed hour 
the next day Mr. Jefferson s yesterday s com 
panion/ was announced, and entered the Presi 
dent s office. His situation was embarrassing, but 
with a gentlemanly bearing, though with some 
confusion, he began, I have called to apologize 
for having said to a stranger 

Hard things of an imaginary being who is 
no relation of mine/ interrupted Mr. Jefferson 
as he gave him his hand, while his countenance 
was radiant with a smile of mingled good-nature 
and amusement. 

" The Kentuckian once more "began his apologies, 
which Jefferson good naturedly laughed off, and, 
changing the subject, soon captivated his guest 
by one of his most delightful strains of conver 
sation." 

Notwithstanding these beautiful examples of 
courtesy and good-nature, Jefferson deliberately 
affronted Minister Merry when he came to the 
White House accompanied by the Secretary of 
State to present his credentials. In the Old World 
such events are attended by a great deal of cere 
mony. In our country they have always been con 
ducted in a simple but dignified manner. Minister 
Merry told the story in an official report to his 
government as follows : 

" I called on Mr. Madison, who accompanied 
me officially to introduce me to the President. We 
went together to the mansion house, I being in 

200 



< < JEFFERSONI AN SIMPLICITY 

full official costume, as the etiquette of my place 
required on such a formal introduction of a min 
ister of Great Britain to the President of the 
United States. On arriving at the hall of audience 
we found it empty, at which Mr. Madison seemed 
surprised, and proceeded to an entry leading to 
the President s study. I followed him, supposing 
that the introduction was to take place in an ad 
joining room. At this moment Mr. Jefferson 
entered the entry at the other end, and all three of 
us were packed in this narrow space, from which 
to make room, I was obliged to back out. In 
this awkward position my introduction to the 
president was made by Mr. Madison. 

"Mr. Jefferson s appearance soon explained to 
me that the general circumstances of my reception 
had not been accidental but studied. I, in my 
official costume, found myself, at the hour of re 
ception he had himself appointed, introduced to 
a man as the President of the United States, not 
merely in an undress, but actually standing in 
slippers down at the heels and both pantaloons, 
coat and underclothes indicative of utter slovenli 
ness and indifference to appearances, and in a state 
of negligence actually studied." 

The next complaint made by Minister Merry to 
his government concerns a dinner at the White 
House given in honor of the diplomatic corps. 

At the organization of the government General 
Washington showed a high appreciation of the 
social obligations attending his office. His recep 
tions, dinners, and social visiting were conducted 
with considerable ceremony, and were therefore 
condemned by Jefferson as imitations of the fol 
lies and vanities of the kings and potentates of 
the Old World. President Adams continued the 
same formalities and etiquette, and therefore Jef- 

201 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

ferson s attempt to abolish all etiquette, when he 
came to the White House, and to ignore even those 
forms of courtesy which prevailed among people 
of good breeding in private life provoked criticism 
which must have been mortifying to right-minded 
men. It was not a mere question of taste as to 
the manner in which he should receive and enter 
tain his guests, as it might have been at Monti- 
cello. The President was required by his position 
to entertain the representatives of foreign govern 
ments at the White House and to treat them with 
distinguished courtesy. Few men of his day were 
better fitted to create a refined circle at the execu 
tive mansion without the sacrifice of simplicity or 
Sincerity. Nor was there ever any complaint of 
his hospitality or deportment at Monticello. While 
there he assumed an entirely different character. 
He was careful of his attire, he was scrupulous 
in his courtesy, and his fine manners were the 
theme of several distinguished writers who visited 
that hospitable mansion. The people he received 
at the White House were the guests of the nation, 
and expected at least the same attentions that were 
offered visitors to his private home. 

Jefferson s table was famous. As stated in 
another chapter, he brought with him from Paris 
a butler and a cook who were said to be the most 
accomplished experts in the art of the cuisine that 
had ever been in this country. His residence in 
France had given him a relish for fine dishes and 
a knowledge of the possibilities of the kitchen. 
The writers of his day describe his dinners as 
perfection, and his viands and wines as being the 
best that could be furnished. One of the Feder 
alist Congressmen remarked that he " wished the 
President s French politics were as good as his 
French wines." Patrick Henry denounced him 

202 



" JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY 

on the stump as one who " abjured his native 
victuals." 

Nor was there ever any criticism of the abun 
dance or the quality of the official banquets. We 
know that he was generous to extravagance in 
providing for his table. He went to market him 
self two or three times a week, and in his volumi 
nous note-books we learn when green peas and 
lettuce, spring lamb, strawberries, and other deli 
cacies first made their appearance. He took great 
interest in such things, and it seems strange that a 
President of the United States, with the great cares 
and responsibilities resting upon him, should have 
devoted so much time to the domestic department 
of his household. 

It was the " rule of pele-mele" at the Presidential 
banquets which is the French for pell-mell, and 
literally translated means " confusion and disor 
der" that the foreign ministers complained of. 
No seats were reserved for the guests, no escorts 
assigned to the ladies, but everybody present was 
expected to make a rush for the table when the din 
ner was announced, seize the places which pleased 
them best, and otherwise conduct themselves in an 
independent manner without regard to their neigh 
bors. This was Jefferson s idea of democratic 
simplicity as exemplified at the banquets he gave 
to distinguished people who visited Washington. 
The consequence was what might be expected. 
The rudest people pushed in first and seized the 
best places. People of refinement who refused to 
engage in the scramble and proceeded in order to 
the dining-room were obliged to content themselves 
with what was left. On one occasion several 
members of the diplomatic corps found themselves 
in a most unpleasant predicament. Merry writes 
to his government, " I was proceeding to place my- 

203 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Self next to the wife of the Spanish minister when 
a member of the House of Representatives quickly 
passed by me and seized the seat without Mr. 
Jefferson using any means to prevent it or taking 
any care to see that I was otherwise placed/ The 
Spanish minister also officially reported the inci 
dent to his government as an insult to his wife. 

A few days later the members of the diplomatic 
corps were invited to dine with Secretary Madison, 
who, strange to say, had adopted the " pele-mele" 
practice of the President. It must have been very 
mortifying to Mrs. Madison, who was a woman 
of great dignity and refinement. In the scramble 
for seats at the table Mrs. Merry, wife of the Brit 
ish minister, was left without an escort. When her 
husband discovered her absence he sought her in 
the drawing-room and escorted her to the only 
place that remained vacant. Imagine the British 
ambassador at this day trying to find a place at 
the President s table for his wife, with all the 
other guests seated! 

The members of the diplomatic corps held several 
meetings and decided to retaliate. They deter 
mined that, whenever they entertained, each min 
ister should escort his own wife to the table and 
allow the Americans to take care of themselves. 
This resolution was carried out at the residence of 
the Spanish minister shortly after, and created a 
great sensation. The Federalist newspapers re 
lieved the situation somewhat by ridiculing the 
administration and making it a burlesque. The 
French minister took great delight in the scandal 
and wrote Talleyrand that "Washington society 
is turned upside down." 

After a little experience Jefferson appears to 
have thought better of the matter and made an 
effort to correct his mistake. He sent Secretary 

204 



< < JEFFERSONI AN SIMPLICITY 

Madison to ask whether the British minister would 
dine with the President privately, and, supposing 
that he had received an affirmative reply, wrote 
an invitation with his own hand. Merry, seeing 
a chance to show his contempt for the President, 
addressed an official note to the Secretary of State 
inquiring whether he was invited in his official 
or in his private capacity. If the former, it would 
be necessary for him to obtain the permission of 
his sovereign after what had occurred. If invited 
in his private capacity, he required an assurance 
from the President that he would be treated de 
cently. To this Madison replied in the following 
language : 

" Mr. Madison presents his compliments to Mr. Merry. 
He has communicated to the President Mr. Merry s note 
of this morning, and has the honor to remark to him that 
the President s invitation being in the style used by him in 
like cases, has no reference to the points of form which will 
deprive him of the pleasure of Mr. Merry s company at 
dinner on Monday next. Mr. Madison tenders to Mr. Merry 
his distinguished considerations." 

Jefferson soon had reason to regret the incident. 
It was the topic of several serious Cabinet con 
sultations. The British minister construed Madi 
son s note as an insult and reported it to his gov 
ernment as another exhibition of insolence to him 
self and to his sovereign. The President was thus 
compelled to make it the subject of a long com 
munication to Monroe, our minister to London, 
who was directed to explain and apologize to the 
British government. Like Adam, he threw the 
blame upon a woman Mrs. Merry, who, he says, 
induced her husband to take official notice of the 
affair. " Be assured she is a virago," he declares, 
and "if she perseveres she must eat her soup at 
home." In closing the communication Jefferson 
represents to Monroe that " It had excited general 

205 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

emotions of contempt and indignation that the 
agents of foreign nations should assume to dictate 
to us what shall be the laws of good society." 

Tom Moore, the Irish poet, who was visiting 
Washington at this time, amused himself and the 
British public by satirical descriptions of the social 
usages at the American capital and the behavior of 
the President towards his guests. Like Trollope, 
Dickens, and other English writers in the earlier 
period of our history, he took the President as a 
true type, and represented that the Americans were 
"a people without manners or refinement/* thus 
creating a false impression among Europeans. 
There is no doubt that Jefferson s rudeness to 
Merry in a great measure hastened and did much 
to provoke the War of 1812. 

The British minister was not the only member 
of the diplomatic corps with whom Jefferson had 
difficulties. Senor Yrujo, the Spanish minister, 
was quite as troublesome, and perhaps a little more 
so because his wife was the daughter of Governor 
McKean, of Philadelphia, an influential Republi 
can. Jefferson was placed in an embarrassing po 
sition because of that relationship. Yrujo took 
advantage of the semi-protection of his father-in- 
law to annoy the Secretary of State and the Presi 
dent in a most exasperating manner, and Madison 
directed our minister at Madrid to ask for his 
recall. The pretext was an alleged attempt to 
bribe the editor of a Philadelphia paper to publish 
articles reflecting upon the administration, but the 
real cause was the annoyance caused by Yrujo s 
behavior concerning the " pele-mele" methods at 
the White House. 

The Spanish government took no notice of the 
request. Yrujo retired from Washington and 
took refuge at the residence of his father-in-law 

206 



" JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY 

in Philadelphia, where Jefferson sent a member 
of the Cabinet to give him and his wife s family 
to understand that his return to Washington would 
not be agreeable to the government. The Spaniard 
remained in Philadelphia but continued to be a 
thorn in the flesh of the President because of fre 
quent defiant and insulting notes addressed to the 
Secretary of State concerning his treatment on 
social occasions at the White House and at other 
places. He sent copies of these letters to his diplo 
matic colleagues, to his home government, and 
to the newspapers for publication. As Yrujo had 
the moral support of the diplomatic corps, it was 
extremely embarrassing for the President and the 
Secretary of State, and afforded the Federalist 
newspapers much material for criticising and ridi 
culing the administration. 

Jefferson decidedly got the worst of the contro 
versy with the diplomatic corps, and during the re 
mainder of his life regretted that he had allowed 
his political interests to interfere with the laws of 
hospitality and propriety. Nor did the social war 
end with his term as President. It continued into 
the Madison administration, and was the chief 
cause of the disparaging comments made by for 
eigners upon American society. 

About the middle of his second term Jefferson 
changed his habits and became a gentleman again. 
He received visitors with dignity and decorum. 
He adopted the customs of refined society, and the 
criticisms of his manners in dispensing hospitality 
were changed to compliments. He also altered his 
style of dress. " He has laid aside his old slip 
pers," wrote Senator Plummer, of Massachusetts, 
"and his old red waistcoat and soiled courderoy 
small clothes, and is dressed all in black with clean 
linen and powdered hair." 

207 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

The late Samuel J. Tilden, a Democrat who re 
sembled Jefferson in many respects, was the grati 
fied owner of one of the account-books, now in 
the Lenox Library, New York, covering his per 
sonal expenditures from January i, 1791, to De 
cember 28, 1803, including three years as Secretary 
of State, four years as Vice-President, and three 
years as President. It is an octavo of heavy paper, 
fully bound in calf, and each page is crowded, 
with margins of only an eighth of an inch or less, 
in the very fine but legible writing of Jefferson. 
In places it is so fine as to require a handglass 
to be read by persons whose sight is not perfect. 
At the end of the book is an index containing 
all the names that appear in the account, giving 
not only the pages upon which they appear, but 
the number of times they appear on each page. 
It is a miracle of neatness and pains, and shows 
the time and extraordinary care that the President 
must have spent with his accounts. Between the 
items of expenditure are memoranda of matters 
which the writer desired to remember. It appears 
from the account that Jefferson frequently travelled 
in company with Adams and Madison, each keep 
ing a memoranda of their joint expenses and after 
wards dividing them. There are also several joint 
accounts with Franklin, and we find among other 
things that he and Adams visited Stratford-on- 
Avon together, that they paid a shilling for in 
specting Shakespeare s house, another for seeing 
his tomb, four shillings two pence for entertainment 
at the Inn, and two shillings as fees to the ser 
vants. And Jefferson makes a note, by the way, 
that Adams "ventured the bold remark that 
Shakespeare s wit, fancy, taste and judgment, his 
knowledge of life, character and nature were im 
mortal." 

208 







PAGES FROM JEFFEF 
(Original in Lenox 




\CCOUNT-BOOKS 
, New York) 



< JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY 

We learn also that while he was in Philadelphia 
during his term as Secretary of State Jefferson 
paid four hundred dollars a year rent to William 
Hamilton, and the following are sample entries : 

" Sept. 8th Took possession of drawg room & 
parlor. Begin to dine at home." On the loth: 
"Billy s wife (Mrs. Gardiner) begins to wash 
for me @ 20 a year." On the nth he closed 
up his accounts with Mrs. House," with whom 
he had been living, by giving her " order on bank 
f r 75%D. in full. Gave her servant 2D." 

" 12 th Rec d from bank a post note payable to 
Carter Braxton for n6%D. and remitted it to him 
under cover to Dr Currie to pay for the horse I 
bought of him. 

" Gave J. Madison ord. on bank for 95.260. 

" Rec d back from him 23.260 over paimt. our 
account standing thus 

" Travelling expen p<* by him 38.66 

Price of horse I bought of him 25 Virgil. . 83.33 

Paid by him Dec 26 50 

Jan 12 95.25 

Balance returned by him 23.26 



^ 145.25 145-25 

Very few men were ever so exact, so punctual, 
or so careful about details. Besides these expense 
accounts, he kept a garden-book, a farm-book, a 
weather-book, and a receipt-book, all of which are 
wonders of neatness and minuteness, and the rec 
ords, after the lapse of a century, are clear and legi 
ble, although as fine as diamond type. The price 
of his horses, the fees paid to ferrymen, the tips 
he gave to servants, the amount he dropped into 
the contribution box at church, were all carefully 
recorded, but we find no entries of political ex 
penses. 

14 209 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

By an entry under April 5, 1791, we learn the 
name of Jefferson s landlord in New York, and that 
while Secretary of State he occupied a small house 
in Maiden Lane. Hamilton, his colleague in the 
Cabinet, lived in Pine Street, and Aaron Burr in 
Nassau Street, on the site now occupied by Bel- 
mont s banking-house, where Burr s sign as attor- 
ney-at-law was hanging as late as 1836. The entry 
reads : " April 5 delivd to H. Remsen to be sent to 
Rob & P. Bruce the post note of 66.5 Doll, in full 
for the years rent of their house in New York. 
Note it was put into an open letter from me to 
them." 

In the spring of the year that he was elected 
President (1800) he sat to Stuart for his portrait, 
for which his diary shows that he paid one hundred 
dollars. A portrait of the same class to-day would 
cost ten times as much. Jefferson s taste in art 
must have advanced considerably during the pre 
vious eight years, for we find under July 12, 1792, 
"pd Williams for drawing my portrait 14!)." 

It would be a satisfaction to know what has be 
come of Williams s fourteen-dollar sketch. 

There are no entries in Jefferson s expense-book 
for his first inauguration day, March 4/1801, nor 
for the day previous; but we find that on the 2d 
he settled his board-bill at Conrad s with an order 
for two hundred and fifty dollars and sixty-seven 
cents on a Mr. Barnes. On the 5th he seems to 
have expended nothing, but on the 6th he gave 
a servant five cents and on the 9th subscribed 
for the Palladium, for which he paid J. Brown 
two dollars and fifty cents, and " received from 
J. Barnes ten eagles." He notes that "Edward 
Maher comes into my service @ 12 d per month 
& 2 suites." On the i3th he "gave $2.25 in 
charity" and on the i8th he "employed Joseph 

210 



JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY" 

Rapin as steward at 100 guineas a year for him 
self and his wife as femme de charge." On the 
2Oth he settled his account with the barber by 
the payment of one dollar; on the 28th he "gave 
in charity ten d. ; ditto 20 d. ;" on the 3ist " i d." 
more was given in charity, and he paid Munchin 
two dollars for a pair of boots. Those constitute 
the entire expenditures for his first month as 
President of the United States, although we find 
later that he purchased a considerable amount of 
supplies for which bills were rendered later. 

He went to Monticello about the first of April 
and remained there until the last of May, making 
preparations for permanent absence at Washington. 
During this time the White House was in charge 
of Joseph Rapin, the steward he had brought from 
Paris, and the affairs of the government were 
looked after by James Madison, the Secretary of 
State, and Edward Coles, the President s private 
secretary, whose salary was six hundred dollars 
a year. On his return to Washington we learn 
from the account-book "on the 27th of May, 1801 
John Cramer comes into my service @ 12 a month 
+ 2d for drink, 2 suites of cloathes & a pair of 
boots." 

Running through his expenditures for the year 
we find that Jefferson s duties as President did not 
distract his attention from his household affairs, 
and the most careful and exact housewife could 
not have been more conscientious in noting every 
penny paid for any purpose. When he gave a tip 
to his servants or dropped a penny in the hand of 
a beggar he recorded it as faithfully as the pay 
ments of interest upon his debts. On July 27, 
1 80 1, he bought a boot- jack for seventy-five cents, 
and we know every time he purchased an article 
of linen or a shaving-mug or a pair of hose. The 

211 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

President must have had many appeals from the 
poor and from benevolent associations, because 
every few days there is an entry of from two 
dollars to fifty dollars " in charity." In January, 
1802, his charitable contributions amounted to two 
hundred and twenty-five dollars, and during his 
first year in the White House the total was 
$1585.60. 

It has been suggested by sceptical persons that 
in Jefferson s accounts, as in other cases, " charity 
covers a multitude of sins/ but there is no justi 
fication for such a suggestion. It is possible, 
however, that his contributions to political organi 
zations and newspapers may have been entered as 
" charity," because none appear in any otheY form. 
His private letters show that he sometimes con 
tributed to the support of several newspapers that 
advocated the principles of the Republican party 
and defended the policy of his administration, 
and also that certain literary gentlemen who wrote 
pamphlets and newspaper paragraphs frequently 
applied to him for pecuniary aid, but there is no 
record of any such payments in his expense ac 
counts. 

On January I, 1802, we find an entry that gives 
an interesting suggestion of the manner in which 
funds were transmitted from one part of the coun 
try to the other in the days before bank checks and 
drafts were used for such purposes. He writes: 
"Inclosed to James Taylor of Norfolk 705 d in 
bank bills cut in two one set of halves sent now 
the other to follow by another post this to pay 
for the 4 + 5 of Madeira. Inclosed to Gibson 
and Jefferson 1500 in bank bills in halves as above." 
On January 8 following appears the entry, " Sent 
James Taylor & G. & J. the rest of his bills." 

At the end of his first three months as President 

212 



" JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY" 

Jefferson summed up his expenses for that period 
as follows : 

" Provisions $215.68 

Wood 109.08 

Miscellanies 48.98 

Servants 192.00 



565-84" 

and notes that "there are moreover considerable 
supplies to-wit groceries." It will be noticed that 
the addition is incorrect and that the total should 
be $565.74. These mistakes frequently occur 
throughout the account-book, although Jefferson 
tells us in one of his letters that " mathematics is 
my great passion. Mathematics is music to me." 
A century ago there were almost as many ser 
vants in the White House as there are to-day. The 
monthly pay-roll on June 9, 1801, was as follows: 

"M. Rapin $62.67 

M. Julien 25. 

Joseph Daugherty 16. 

Chris Liverman 14. 

Edward Maher 14. 

Maria Murphy 9. 

Noel Gargon de Cuisine 8. 

The cook woman 30. 

John Kramer 5.50 

John Baker 10. 

Captain L s men half a month s drink I. 



195-17" 

"This," he says, "makes the regular establism 
of the servants 135 d per month besides liveries 
and board and besides Rapin." This is another 
inaccuracy, because, if he deducts from this total 
the wages of Rapin, the steward, which are $62.67 
per month, it will leave the pay-roll for the re 
mainder $132.50. 

At least three of these servants, Rapin, the 
steward, M. Julien, the French chef, whom he 

213 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

brought from Paris while Vice-President, and Noel, 
the kitchen boy, were French ; Daugherty, Maher, 
and Murphy must have been Irish, and it is proba 
ble that " the cook woman" was a negress, although 
we have no evidence to that effect. Mrs. Ran 
dolph mentions in one of her letters that all of 
the servants at the Executive Mansion were white 
except one woman and a coachman who were 
brought from Monticello. Being slaves their 
names do not appear in this list. Another matter 
worthy of comment is that Mr. Jefferson should 
employ free whites as servants at the Executive 
Mansion when he owned one hundred and fifty 
or more slaves on his plantations, only a few days 
journey distant. No explanation of this fact ap 
pears in any of his letters, nor is it alluded to. 
Knowing his abhorrence of slavery, perhaps we 
may properly infer that he desired to set an ex 
ample to his fellow-countrymen. 

Edward Bacon, his overseer, says: "I visited 
Mr. Jefferson at Washington three times while 
he was president. The second time I went he 
had got very much displeased with two of his 
servants, Davy and Fanny, and he wished me to 
take them to Alexandria and sell them. They 
were married and had got into a terrible quarrel. 
Davy was jealous of his wife, and I reckon with 
good reason. When I got there they learned what 
I had come for, and they were in great trouble. 
They wept, and begged and made good promises 
and made such an ado, that they begged the old 
gentleman out of it. But it was a good lesson 
for them. I never heard any more complaint of 
them; and when I left Mr. Jefferson, I left them 
both at Monticello. He had eleven servants with 
him from Monticello. He had a French cook in 
Washington named Julien, and he took Eda and 

214 



JEFFERSONI AN SIMPLICITY" 

Fanny there to learn French cookery. He always 
preferred French cookery. Eda and Fanny were 
afterwards his cooks at Monticello. He had a 
very long dining room and his table was chock 
full every one of the sixteen days I was there. 
There were Congressmen, foreigners and all sort 
of people to dine with him. He dined at four 
o clock, and they generally sat and talked until 
night." 

Speaking of Rapin, Bacon says : " He was a 
very smart man, was well educated and was as 
much of a gentleman in his appearance as any 
man. His carriage driver was an Irishman named 
Dougherty. He would get out the wagon early 
in the morning, and Rapin would go with him 
to Georgetown to market. I have all my life been 
in the habit of getting up about four o clock in 
the morning, and I went with them very often. 
Lamar told me that it often took fifty dollars to 
pay for what marketing they would use in a 
day. Mr. Jefferson s salary did not support him 
while he was president." 

At the end of the year Jefferson was accustomed 
to foot up his expenses, and the following analysis 
from March 4, 1801, to March 4, 1802, the first 
year of his Presidency, appears : 

" Secretary 450. 

Provisions 4504.84 

Fuel 690.88 

Miscellaneous 295.82 

Servants 2675.85 

Groceries (not wines) 2003.71 

Wines 2797.38 

Stable 884.45 

Dress Saddlery &c 557-36 

Charities {763.20 | 9?8 2Q 

Contingencies 357-8i 

Books & Stationery 391.30 16797.59 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Debts prior to March 4-01 pd 3417-59 

Loans 170. 

Acquisitions 4712.54 

Building 2076.29 

Furniture 545-48 11422.10 

Monte- ( Household Expenses 652.82 

cello ( Plantation 3732.23 4385.05 

Family aids 1030.14 1030.10 

32634.84 32634.84" 

In addition to this he often takes certain items 
of expenditure and classifies them, such as the 
amount paid for seed on his farm, the amount 
paid for travelling expenses, his expenditures for 
books and wines, and here we have during his 
first year in the White House what he calls "A 
View of the Consumption of butchers meat from 
Sept 6, 1 80 1 to June 12, 1802; 

" 1801 lb lb 

Sept 6-30 419 25 days is 17 per day for n servants. 

no masters. 
Oct i-Dec 5, 2361 71 days is 38^ 

deduct 1 8 per day for n servts. 

20^ for the masters. 
Dec 6-May i 6246 152 days is 41 per day 

deduct 1 8 per day for n servts. 

23 for masters 
May 2-7 212 6 days is 35 > per day 

deduct 15 for 9 servants 

20% for the masters 
May 8-29 357 22 days is 16% per day for 9 servts 

or i % each no masters 
May3o-June 12 375 14 days is 26^ 

deduct 1 8 for n servants 

8^ for masters" 

With his first year s salary as President he man 
aged to pay off many of his small debts and to 
get through the year on his income, which in 
cludes his receipts from his property in Virginia. 
The idea of laying anything by seems not to have 

216 



" JEFFERSONIAN SIMPLICITY" 

occurred to him. He thinks he had about three 
hundred dollars in hand at the end of the year. 

Under date of October 31, 1802, appears the 
following analysis of Mr. Jefferson s expenses as 
President for the previous six months: 



HOUSEHOLD. 





Provisions. 


Fuel. 


Servants. 


Contin 
gencies. 


Monthly. 


May 


310 68 


12 


16^ 17 




487 8s 


June 


lOd. O1, 


7O 


1 60 2O 


2^7 no 


erg 17 


Tulv. 


^07 1 6 


27 7^ 


176 87 


ii 6^ 


C2i II 


J j 
* Ails . 


I5O 21 




I7r 


I? 4c 


^8 66 


*Sep 


2OQ 17 




I4.Q 




5=8 17 


Oct 


280 


287. o=c 


2 6e; 4.6 


12 8^ 


QC4 80 
















1570.80 


396.80 


1191.40 


61.81 


322O.8l 




26l.8o 


66.13 


198.50 


10.30 


535.80 



STABLE. 





Forage. 


Smith. 


Sad 
dler. 


Contin 
gent. 


Monthly. 


Total 
monthly. 


May 


21.12 






II 


*2. 12 


5IQ.Q7 


June 


IQ. ^2 


z 74 


2.74 


4. ^7S 


^I.IVS 


580. 30^ 


July- . . 


100.78 


5.72 


^.12 


2 


111.62 


6^4.7^ 


*Aus: 








.Q2 1 ; 


IO.7I2 


^4Q. ^72 


*Sen 


5 


JC CQ 




7c 




368 882 


Oct. 


61 67 


I-j 


I 82 




77 24. 


IO^2 1^ 


















207.89 


37- 9 6 


8.68 


19-05 


273.58 


3494-39 




34.65 


6.32 


1.44 


3.17 


45.60 


582.00 



* " I \vas absent these months. 

"The above does not include Mr. Barnes bills for pro 
visions abt 150 p 900 

Cloathing 7 suits of which 5 are liveries about 350 

Doctors bills about 50 

Wines amounting to about 500 

1800 
217 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

During the year from March 4, 1802, to MarcK 
4, 1803, while he was President, his total dis 
bursements were twenty-five thousand two hun 
dred and sixty-three dollars, and he classifies them 
as follows, although it is noticed that his additions 
are incorrect: 



" Provisions 4059.98 

Wines 1296.63 

Groceries 1624.76 6981.37 

Fuel 553.68 

Secretary 600. 

Servants 2014.89 

Miscellaneous 433-3O 

Stable 399.06 

Dress 246.05 

Charities 1585.60 

Pres House 226.59 

Books 497-41 

Household ex 393. 7449.59 

Monte- ( Plantation 2226.45 

cello { Family 1028.79 3255.20 

Loans 274. 

o Debts 529.61 

Lands bought 2156.86 

Buildings 3567.92 

Carriages 363.75 

Furniture 664.10 7576.99 



25263.19" 

He notes that these disbursements were met 
by his salary of twenty-five thousand dollars as 
President, by nine hundred and fifteen dollars, pro 
ceeds of the sale of tobacco, three hundred and 
eighty-nine dollars received from the rent of land, 
etc., etc., etc., and then enters this confession : 



" I ought by this statement to have cash in hand $183.70 

But I actually have in hand 293. 

So that the errors of this statemnt amt to 109.20 

" The whole of the nails used for Monticello and smiths- 
work are omitted because no account was kept of them. 
This makes part of the error and the articles of nails has 
been extraordinary this year." 

218 



VIII 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 






JEFFERSON S affection for and his loyalty to his 
friends became a provgib, but he was very eyartmg 
in his demands upon them, anrl flmppprl them when 
they would not submit to his domination. Like 
other great leaders of men, he was willing to share 
his honors with and accept the advice of those who 
conceded his superiority, but rivalry could not be 
tolerated, and the ambitions of others must be sub 
ordinate to his own. For these reasons he fell out 
with Patrick Henry, John Marshall, and John Ran 
dolph, a famous triumvirate. James Madison was 
always his nearest and most valued friend, and 
although a stronger man that Jefferson in some 
respects, his amiable temper and admirable tact 
permitted him to enjoy a degree of independence 
that Jefferson would not allow in any other of his 
apostles. Monroe was a loyal follower and imi- 
t|itor, but their natures were not congenial. 
r~Jefferson and Madison were born within a few 
miles of each other; their parents were friends, 
and their intimacy began in childhood, although 
there was a difference of seven years in their ages// 
When Jefferson returned from college, laden with 
learning and bursting with his own importance, 
the elder Madison consulted him concerning the 
education of his son, and in a patronizing way 
Jefferson prepared a manual of study and reading 
for the lad to follow. From that hour he con 
tinued to treat Madison as a protege, and the latter 

219 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

submitted to it without objection. He never tired 
of boasting of Madison s abilities, his learning, his 
purity of character, political integrity, his wisdom 
and accuracy of judgment, as if he were himself 
responsible for them, and it was a part of his life 
plan that this beloved disciple should follow in his 
political footsteps, succeed him in his various 
offices, and wear the mantle that fell from his 
shoulders. The fidelity of their friendship was 
as remarkable as its duration, for during fifty years 
of more or less intimate companionship they never 
quarrelled. In his will Jefferson says : 

" I give to my old friend James Madison of 
Montpelier, my gold mounted walking staff of 
animal horn, as a token of the cordial and affec 
tionate friendship, which, for half a century has 
united us in the same principles and pursuits of 
what we have deemed for the greatest good of our 
country." 

His boyish affection was expended upon Dabney 
Carr, with whom there was a David-and- Jonathan 
relationship, afterwards strengthened when Carr 
married his sister Martha. Carr was the best be 
loved of his companions at school, and when at 
home, during the long summers, the friends and 
fellow-students were inseparable. Near Shadwell, 
Jefferson s home, was an isolated mountain, five 
hundred and eighty feet high, covered to the sum 
mit with the primeval forest, which he afterwards 
named Monticello. In the deepest shade of its 
luxuriant woods, under an ancient oak, the boy 
friends constructed a rustic seat ; and thither they 
would retire with their books and pass peaceful 
days in study and conversation. Becoming 
strongly attached to the spot, they made a com 
pact that whichever of them died first should be 
buried by the other under that grand old tree. 

220 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

The compact was fulfilled. Jefferson was absent 
from home when Carr died, and on his return 
found that his friend had been buried at Shad- 
well. Mindful of his promise, he had the body 
disinterred, and placed it beneath that tree whose 
branches now bend over such illustrious dead, 
for that was the origin of the little graveyard of 
Monticello. 

Among Jefferson s papers after his death there 
was found the following memorandum, written 
on a sheet of note-paper: " Send for a plate of 
copper to be nailed on the tree at the foot of his 
grave, with this inscription, To his virtue, good 
sense, learning, and friendship, this stone is dedi 
cated by Thomas Jefferson, who of all men living, 
loved him most/ 

Next to Carr in Jefferson s youthful affections 
was Patrick Henry. Their intimacy, mutual con 
fidences, and aspirations continued until political 
differences and personal rivalries forced them apart. 
Henry s impetuous nature and undisciplined dis 
position would not submit to the exactions of Jef 
ferson s leadership. An incidental dispute over 
a trivial matter was the germ of a bitter enmity 
which ended only with their lives. Henry became 
a Federalist, a follower of Alexander Hamilton, 
and grew to hate Jefferson as hotly as he had once 
loved him. His old friend was often the object 
of his most vehement invective and merciless ridi 
cule. Jefferson was inclined to be charitable, 
however, and in reply to a request for information 
from William Wirt, the biographer of Patrick 
Henry, furnished many interesting and valuable 
reminiscences, but said, " His apostacy sunk him 
to nothing in the estimation of his country, and 
a man who had been the idol of a country beyond 
any one that ever lived, descended to the grave 

221 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

with less than its indifference, and verified the 
saying of the philosopher that no man must be 
called happy until he is dead/ Jefferson in a 
letter to James Monroe says that " the office of 
Secretary of State was offered to P. H. [by Presi 
dent Adams] in order to draw him over and 
gain some popularity, but not until there was a 
moral certainty that he would not accept it." 

When Jefferson was associated with Dr. Frank 
lin in draughting the Declaration of Independence 
a mutual admiration was excited that lasted 
through their lives. His scientific inclinations led 
him to take an interest in Franklin s work, and 
they were frequently together in Philadelphia, as 
they afterwards were in Paris. He said that 
" Franklin was the greatest man and the greatest 
ornament of the age and the country in which 
he lived." When Franklin returned home, loaded 
with all the honors and love that the admiration 
of the French people could lavish upon him, Jef 
ferson was appointed to take his place at the Court 
of St. Germain. 

" You replace Dr. Franklin," said Count de 
Vergennes, the French Premier, to him. 

" I merely succeed him ; no one could replace 
him," was Jefferson s ready reply. 

Five years later, when passing through Phila 
delphia on his way to New York to become Secre 
tary of State, he found Franklin on his death-bed, 
and leaves in his memoirs an affectionate account 
of their last interview. Franklin placed in his 
hands a paper containing his recollections of inter 
views with the British ministry, when, before the 
Revolution, he was endeavoring to secure a peace 
ful separation of the colonies. Jefferson regarded 
it of the greatest historical importance, but it con 
tained facts and comments decidedly prejudicial 

222 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

to the honor and truthfulness of the British min 
istry at that date. Jefferson afterwards gave the 
manuscript to William Temple Franklin, the grand 
son and literary executor of the Great Printer, 
to publish with his other papers; but it did not 
appear with them, and he was never able to secure 
a satisfactory explanation of the omission. " It 
certainly established facts so atrocious to the Brit^ 
ish government that its suppression would be 
worth to them a great price," he said, " but could 
the grandson of Franklin be to such a degree an 
accomplice in the paracide of the memory of his 
immortal grand father." 

In August, 1824, Lafayette arrived at New 
York. He had been intimate with Jefferson dur 
ing Revolutionary times in the United States and 
afterwards while the latter was minister to France, 
and their correspondence had been maintained 
regularly for a quarter of a century. Upon his 
arrival Lafayette found awaiting him an invitation 
to Monticello in which Jefferson says, " We are 
impatient to give you embraces of friendship." 
To Monticello, therefore, Lafayette hastened as 
soon as possible, and Jefferson Randolph has left 
us a description of their meeting. 

Until 1805, towards the close of the first year 
of his second term, John Randolph of Roanoke, 
able, impetuous, vindictive, equally gifted in eulogy 
and vituperation, was Jefferson s party leader and 
personal representative on the floor of the House 
of Representatives, and carried through all his 
schemes with an iron hand and an inflexible will. 
He gagged the House to pass the bill to pay for 
the Louisiana Territory and to carry out Jeffer 
son s plan of government for it. During Jeffer 
son s first term he did everything the President 
wanted done, but when, on December 6, 1805, 

223 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

the President sent a confidential message to the 
House asking an appropriation for secret service 
during the war between France and England, Ran 
dolph astonished everybody by attacking Jeffer 
son s policy and political integrity with the most 
vehement invective. He called him a Pharisee 
and a hypocrite, and dubbed him " St. Thomas 
of Cantingbury," a satire Jefferson never could 
appreciate. There was never a more radical or 
sensational change in the attitude of a member 
of the House, but Randolph was always an ex 
tremist, and was found on the skirmish-line in 
whatever enterprise he was engaged. He de 
nounced Jefferson with the same vigor and the 
same persistency that he had shown in defending 
him. Thereafter he endeavored to defeat the meas 
ures introduced by the administration as eagerly 
as he had tried to pass them a few months before; 
but Jefferson s hold upon his party was so firm 
that only eleven Republicans went off with Ran 
dolph, and six of those returned to the ranks of 
their party before the end of the session. Jeffer 
son took Randolph s defection philosophically, as 
usual, and endeavored to turn it to a political 
advantage. He afterwards represented to Madison 
that it solidified and harmonized the rest of the 
party. 

All the reasons of Randolph s desertion were 
never given, and it excited many surmises. Ran 
dolph was too honorable to discuss his private 
relations with Jefferson, and the latter represented 
that he did not know the cause of the disaffection. 
Randolph s friends assumed that he had discovered 
improper political intrigues on Jefferson s part, and 
felt a genuine and honest dissatisfaction with the 
policy of the administration. 

During the last night of the second session of 
224 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

the Ninth Congress, when the duties on salt were 
under discussion in the House of Representatives, 
a member by the name of Williams was called to 
order by Thomas Mann Randolph, a son-in-law 
of President Jefferson, who construed his remarks 
as an insult to the President. John Randolph 
of Roanoke intimated that Thomas Mann Ran 
dolph was drunk. The latter lost his temper and 
attacked his colleague in a violent manner. John 
Randolph sent Garnet, also a Representative from 
Virginia, to demand an apology and retraction. 
Edward Coles, the private secretary of President 
Jefferson, represented Thomas Mann Randolph. 
Garnet, according to the custom of the time, in 
formed Coles that his principal required a full 
retraction and apology, or Thomas Mann Randolph 
must give him the satisfaction of a gentleman. 
The emissaries separated to confer with their prin 
cipals. In the meantime Jefferson, who abhorred 
duelling from principle and was apprehensive of 
a public scandal, persuaded his son-in-law to yield. 
Whereupon Thomas Mann Randolph arose in the 
House and explained that he had been laboring 
under a misapprehension; that he had supposed 
the remarks of John Randolph were intended for 
him, but was glad to be informed that they were 
not. He had no disposition to wound the feelings 
of any gentleman who did not intend to wound 
his feelings, and therefore desired to withdraw 
his recent references to his colleague and apologize 
for his mistake. John Randolph made a concilia 
tory reply, accepting the explanation and apology 
in good faith; but the incident rankled in the 
breasts of both and gave the President great anx 
iety. He feared that the ill-feeling might break 
out at any slight provocation, and a few days 
later, after his son-in-law had returned to Monti- 
is 225 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

cello, he appealed to James Ogilvie, a mutual friend 
and neighbor, as follows : 

" DEAR SIR : As Mr. Randolph might possibly be from 
home & the inclosed in that case be opened by my daughter, 
I have taken the liberty of putting it under your cover with 
a request to put it into his own hands. The subject of it 
is perhaps unknown to my daughter, & may as well con 
tinue so. It s object is to induce Mr Randolph to act with 
coolness & an attention to his situation in this unhappy 
affair between him and J. R, which the newspapers are 
endeavoring to revive. It is not inclination in anybody, but 
a fear of the opinion of the world which leads men to the 
absurd & immoral decision of differences by duel. The 
greatest service, therefore, which Mr. T. M. R. s friends can 
render him is to convince him that althp the world esteems 
courage & disapproves of the want of it, yet in a case like 
his, & especially where it has been before put out of doubt, 
the mass of mankind & particularly that thinking part whose 
esteem we value, would condemn in a husband & father 
of a numerous family every thing like forwardness in this 
barbarous and lawless appeal. A conduct, cool, candid, and 
merely defensive is quite as much as could be admitted 
by any in such a case as his ; and I verily believe that if 
such a conduct be observed on his part, the matter may yet 
die away. I should be unwilling to have it known that I 
meddle at all in this, and therefore write to you in con 
fidence. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of 
esteem & respect. 

" TH : JEFFERSON. 

"MR. OGILVIE." 

The popular explanation of Randolph s defec 
tion was Jefferson s indifference regarding the im 
peachment of Justice Chase of the Supreme Court, 
who, in a decision from the bench, had denounced 
the democratic tendencies of the executive branch 
of the government. Jefferson resented this as a 
violation of courtesy as well as an attack upon 
the prerogatives of a coordinate branch of the 
government, and encouraged Randolph, even if 
he did not request him, to secure Chase s impeach 
ment. Randolph was prosecutor and conducted 
the case with great zeal and ability, but the Senate, 
although it had a Democratic majority, acquitted 

226 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

Chase on every count. Jefferson showed no in 
terest in the trial. It was even whispered that he 
considered the impeachment ill-advised and was 
opposed to conviction. If Randolph heard these 
rumors they would naturally provoke his fierce and 
dramatic nature beyond forgiveness. He became 
the President s most violent opponent and most 
relentless critic from that moment, and the chief 
instrument in disturbing the serenity of Jefferson s 
second term. 

Another Virginian who refused to accept the 
political doctrines of Jefferson or submit to his 
dictation was John Marshall. He was studying 
law with George Wythe in Williamsburg when 
that gentleman was engaged with Jefferson in 
writing a new code for Virginia. While Jefferson 
was in Paris Marshall and Madison became the 
most conspicuous figures in the State, and more 
than any other of the citizens were responsible 
for its ratification of the new Constitution, to 
which he objected. When he returned to be Sec 
retary of State he resumed his influence over 
Madison, but Marshall had grown beyond him, 
and in the Cabinet quarrels took the side of 
Washington and Hamilton. Thus alienated from 
his former leader, Marshall grew away from him 
until mutual criticisms made them enemies. Jef 
ferson was about ten years older than Marshall; 
they were born and reared in the same neighbor 
hood, and Jefferson attempted to exercise over 
him, as he did over Madison and Monroe, the in 
fluence of an elder brother. Marshall resented the 
patronizing disposition of the older man and his 
tendency to dictation. Madison was more amiable, 
and clung to Jefferson like a vine to a tree. Jef 
ferson said of him that he lacked firmness of char 
acter, but Marshall had enough for two men. 

227 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

His individuality was quite as strong, his spirit 
of independence quite as vigorous, and his stub 
bornness as well developed as that of Jefferson 
himself. 

Adams offered Jefferson an opportunity to visit 
Paris again in a diplomatic capacity, but it was 
impossible for him to accept without resigning 
the Vice-Presidency. Jefferson recommended the 
appointment of Madison, his beloved disciple, but 
the President selected Marshall instead without 
consulting him and without reference to his un 
friendly disposition. Jefferson considered Mar 
shall an ingrate and a deserter from the little 
circle of his satellites, and took occasion to pub 
licly criticise the manner in which his mission 
to France was managed. When Marshall returned 
to New York the leaders of the Federalist party 
gave him an ovation, and the members of both 
houses of Congress tendered him a public dinner. 
On this occasion the phrase that became so familiar 
afterwards, " Millions for Defense, but not one 
cent for Tribute," was one of the sentiments in 
the list of toasts, being an allusion to the attempt 
of Talleyrand to extort blackmail from the Ameri 
can envoys. 

Jefferson wrote a spiteful letter about Marshall 
which made the latter angry, and he went home 
to Virginia and ran for Congress against the oppo 
sition of Jefferson, who called him a " monarch 
ist" and " an unprincipled and impudent Federal 
bulldog." 

Towards the end of the Adams administration 
Marshall was appointed Secretary of State, and 
while occupying that office, a few weeks before 
the inauguration of Jefferson, was nominated 
Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court. Jefferson 
considered this an invasion of his rights and pre- 
228 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

rogatives. He held that President Adams should 
not have filled so important an office just before 
the expiration of his term, but should have left 
the vacancy to be filled by his successor. But 
Adams never lost an opportunity to put a friend 
in office, and Judge Marshall had been his strongest 
supporter. Jefferson particularly resented the ap 
pointment of Marshall because he was not only 
a political but a personal enemy. No one in public 
life at that time was more obnoxious to him, not 
even Hamilton. 

During the eight years which followed the Presi 
dent and the Chief-Justice were continually at war. 
Jefferson was opposed to a permanent judiciary; 
he wanted to amend the Constitution by changing 
the life- tenure of judges to terms of four or six 
years and subject them to removal by the President 
like all other officials of the government, on the 
theory that life offices were contrary to the spirit 
of republican institutions. Commenting freely 
upon this subject, he indulged in personal criti 
cisms of the court and Judge Marshall s interpre 
tation of the Constitution, which were not at all 
in accordance with his views. 

Naturally Judge Marshall did not relish these 
criticisms from the President, but from his lofty 
position upon the bench he could afford to forget 
personal animosities, and did not permit his inter 
pretation of the Constitution to be influenced by 
such considerations; but he never lost an oppor 
tunity to make Jefferson unhappy, and the trial 
of Aaron Burr afforded him an opportunity to 
torment the President. 

Burr was one of Jefferson s ablest and most 
efficient aides in the organization of the Democratic 
party. His brilliant attainments and captivating 
personality made him a power, while his natural 

229 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

inclination for intrigue tempted him to methods 
which his chief would not have approved in pub 
lic, but did not hesitate to use to his own advan 
tage. His knowledge of Burr s immorality and 
tricky disposition awakened distrust and led him 
into duplicity, which, however, would have been 
natural to any politician. In their correspondence 
Jefferson was apparently frank and friendly, but 
to others he refers to Burr with " habitual cau 
tion" and frequently questions his integrity. In 
writing Madison, to whom he always spoke with 
the freedom of confidence, he frequently revealed 
his suspicions. Similar reflections upon Burr s 
honesty appeared in a letter to Senator Brecken- 
ridge, of Kentucky, which, when published, Jeffer 
son was compelled to repudiate, although it was 
undoubtedly genuine. In his diary, which was 
naturally his closest confidant, he writes: 

" I hav never seen Colo Burr till he becm. a 
member of the Senate. His condt very soon in- 
spird me with distrust. I habitually cautd Mr. 
Madison against trusting him too much. I saw 
that under genl W and Mr. Adams, whener a 
great military apt or a diplomatic one was to 
be made he came post to Phila to show himself, 
& in fact he was always in the market if they 
wanted him. He was indeed told by Dayton in 
1800 that he might be Sec at war, but this bid 
was too late. His election as V.P. was then fore 
seen. With these impressions of Colo Burr there 
never has been any intimacy between us and but 
little association." 

" Against Burr personally I never had one hos 
tile sentiment," he wrote to a friend. " I have never 
thought him an honest, fair dealing man, but con 
sidered him as a crooked gun or other perverted 
machine whose aim or shot you could never be 

230 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

sure of, still while he possessed the confidence of 
the nation, I thought it my duty to respect in 
him their confidence and to treat him as if he de 
served it" 

During- the heated controversy over the Presi 
dency in 1 800, when there was a tie in the electoral 
vote for Burr and himself, he had reason to sus 
pect his opponent s loyalty, and was fully aware 
of Burr s attempt to use corrupt influences to 
secure his own election. Nevertheless, at the close 
of the contest Jefferson commended him in the 
most cordial terms as a man of honor and integ 
rity, a course probably explained by the last sen 
tence of the letter just quoted. One looks in vain 
through Jefferson s writings for a condemnation 
of the murder of Alexander Hamilton or even a 
regret, although previous to that tragedy and often 
afterwards he expressed his horror of duelling. 

At the close of his term as Vice-President 
Colonel Burr twice applied for an appointment to 
some prominent office, " some mark of favor from 
me," Jefferson says in his diary, " that would de 
clare to the world that he retired from the vice 
presidency with my confidence," but his request 
was denied " in many words but with the usual 
courtesies." In the daily journal of the Presi 
dent these two interviews are reported in great 
detail, and with caustic comments. Whereupon 
Colonel Burr joined the enemies of the President 
and attempted to prevent his reelection. " I was 
advised from day to day," Jefferson says, " of the 
progress of their alliance by Gideon Granger, who 
had opportunities for searching into their pro 
ceedings." 

The apparent indifference of President Jefferson 
to the Burr conspiracy, when all the rest of the 
country was alarmed and excited, has never been 

231 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

explained, and probably never will be. He made 
light of it in his message to Congress and in his 
private correspondence, although his diary shows 
that it was the subject of serious consideration 
in the Cabinet and that early steps were taken 
to have Burr followed and watched. Jefferson 
compared Burr to Don Quixote, but when the 
crisis came the President discovered to his cha 
grin and alarm that his bitterest enemies were to 
be the chief actors in the great historic drama 
enacted in the courts at Richmond. The relentless 
Randolph of Roanoke was foreman of the Grand 
Jury, and nobody hated Jefferson more than he; 
John Marshall, who was even more formidable 
as an enemy, although not so vicious and vindic 
tive, was the presiding judge, and Jefferson had 
reason to believe that they intended to force him 
into the attitude of an attorney for the defence. 

There is no evidence that the President had 
sympathy with or knowledge of Burr s plans, but 
he had unconsciously promoted them by the as 
signment of General Wilkinson, the general-in- 
chief of the army, and Burr s most intimate friend, 
to the governorship of the new Louisiana Terri 
tory in defiance of his own well known opposition 
to the union of civil and military authority. What 
possessed him to select a soldier for the ruler of 
the new Territory can only be conjectured, and 
one cannot easily understand why his abhorrence 
of nepotism did not prevent him from appointing 
Burr s brother-in-law as secretary of the new gov 
ernment and his step-son to be judge of the prin 
cipal court at New Orleans. Marshall and Ran 
dolph were thus easily able to connect Jefferson s 
appointees with Burr, and there is little doubt 
of their desire to entrap the President himself 
in the conspiracy, just as the then Secretary of the 

232 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

Treasury endeavored to involve President Grant 
in the frauds of the Whiskey Ring in 1876. Upon 
the application of John Randolph, Justice Marshall 
issued a subpoena requiring the attendance of the 
President of the United States as a witness for 
the prosecution, and they proposed by cross-exam 
ination to extort from him admissions that would 
cause his political ruin. Jefferson refused to obey 
the summons, shielding himself behind his pre 
rogative as President, and holding that the Con 
stitution made the three coordinate branches of 
the government independent of each other. A 
careful study of the incidents and circumstances 
connected with the case does not increase one s 
respect either for Jefferson, Randolph, or for Mar 
shall, but politics were very bitter and politicians 
had very bad manners in those days. 

Within a few years an examination of the ar 
chives of the Foreign Offices of London, Madrid, 
and Paris has disclosed unpublished correspond 
ence with their representatives in Washington 
during the Jefferson administration which throws 
a great deal of light upon the Burr conspiracy 
and leaves no doubt of his treason. It also 
shows that the diplomatic agents of Great Britain, 
France, and Spain, while enjoying the hospitality 
of this government, did not hesitate to encourage 
a conspiracy among our own people for the de 
struction of the Union. As early as 1804, within 
a month after his duel with Hamilton, and while 
he was still Vice-President of the United States, 
Burr disclosed his scheme to Merry, the British 
minister, and the latter submitted it in detail to 
his government with a proposal from the Vice- 
President that Great Britain should employ him 
to effect a separation between her former colonies 
and the Louisiana Territory recently purchased 

233 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

from France. Merry sent Colonel Williamson, an 
officer of the British army, to London to lay the 
details before the ministry, which was expected 
to provide half a million dollars in money towards 
Burr s expenses and to send a fleet to the Missis 
sippi to cooperate with his land forces. 

The British ministry at first was inclined to 
entertain the proposal, but, having more important 
business on hand, postponed its consideration from 
time to time, until after a year of waiting Burr 
tried to quicken the interest of England by enter 
ing into negotiations with the French and Spanish 
governments, with which England was then at 
war. Merry commends Burr as possessing, " in 
a much greater degree than any other individual 
in this country, all the talents, energy, intrepidity 
and firmness required for such an enterprise," but 
intimated a doubt as to whether " strict confidence" 
could be placed in him. 

Having lost his patience with the British, Burr 
opened negotiations with the Spaniards through 
ex-Senator Dayton, of New Jersey. Yrujo, the 
Spanish minister, advanced Dayton several thou 
sand dollars and forwarded Burr s plans to Ma 
drid with a favorable endorsement, but his govern 
ment was not enticed into the plot to recover the 
territory it had traded away, and gave Yrujo no 
encouragement. Nor did it furnish him any more 
funds for Burr s benefit. The latter then appealed 
to General Turreau, the French minister, who at 
that time was endeavoring to secure a recognition 
of the political rights of the French residents in 
Louisiana. Burr, being aware of thetr discontent, 
endeavored to enlist them in his cause through 
the French minister, but the latter does not seem 
to have gone any farther than to keep Talleyrand 
fully posted as to his movements and intentions. 

234 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

It was also disclosed that Wilkinson, the general 
of the army, with whom Burr had confidential 
relations, and who was shielded by Jefferson to 
the best of his ability, had been drawing a salary 
of two thousand dollars a year from the Spanish 
government for several years as compensation for 
secret information furnished the agents of the king 
concerning the military condition and plans of the 
United States. 

Jefferson s habitual inconsistency is shown in 
his references to Andrew Jackson. In 1823 he 
wrote Andrew Jackson : "I recall with pleasure 
the remembrance of our joint labor while in Sen 
ate together in times of great trial and hard bat 
tling. Battles, indeed, of words, not of blood, as 
those you have since fought so much for your 
own glory and that of your country." 

Then he said to Daniel Webster : " I feel very 
much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General 
Jackson President. He is one of the most unfit 
men I know of for such a place. He has very 
little respect for the laws and constitution, and is, 
in fact, an able military chief. His passions are 
terrible. When I was President of the Senate 
he was a Senator, and he could never speak on 
account of the rashness of his feelings. I have 
seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke 
with rage. His passions are no doubt cooler now ; 
he has been much tried since I knew him, but he 
is a dangerous man." 

The intimacy between Jefferson and John Adams 
extended over half a century, beginning at Phila 
delphia, where they met as colleagues in the Conti 
nental Congress, and ending only when the Angel 
of Death called them both on the same day, July 
4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption 
of their joint composition, the Declaration of In- 

235 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

dependence. Their correspondence would fill a 
large volume. They wrote long essays at each 
other upon topics of every sort, exchanging views 
and criticisms of men and affairs, both foreign 
and domestic, in a solemn, monotonous manner; 
and while they seldom agreed upon the details of 
any proposition, it was evident that each was fully 
convinced of his own wisdom and rectitude. They 
were born in different atmospheres, educated in 
different schools, and were accustomed to different 
codes of morals and different modes of thought. 
What would have been political food to one was 
political poison to the other. They were as far 
apart by birth and training as any two men in 
the thirteen colonies, and had little in common 
except their egotism and verbosity. 

There were intervals in their friendship, in 
tervals of doubt, distrust, and resentment, but the 
attraction was too great, and the positive and nega 
tive poles sooner or later must resume the current 
of communication. While they were in Europe 
as plenipotentiaries Jefferson and the Adamses ex 
changed visits between London and Paris, and Mrs. 
Adams chats about him in her home letters with 
a grateful appreciation of his talents and worth. 
She says, " He is one of the choice ones of the 
earth," and it is an interesting fact that her friend 
ship for him never faltered even when he and 
Adams were at odds, and it was her tact that re 
stored their relations after the most serious quarrel 
of their lives. 

Jefferson once expressed the opinion that " Mr. 
Adams was honest as a politician as well as a man ; 
Hamilton was honest as a man, but as a politician 
he believed in the necessity of either force or cor 
ruption to govern man." Hamilton held that 
Julius Caesar was the greatest man that ever lived ; 

236 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

Jefferson replied that Bacon, Newton, and Locke 
in his opinion were greater, and Adams agreed 
with him. 

In the days when Jefferson was Secretary of 
State it was customary for public men to write 
for the newspapers over assumed names. Hamil 
ton s contributions to the Federalist, like those of 
John Adams, originally appeared over a fictitious 
signature. Adams, while Vice-President, wrote 
a series of political discourses signed " Davila." 
These were attacked by Thomas Paine in his 
" Rights of Man," originally published in Eng 
land. A copy was sent to Jefferson, with the re 
quest that, after reading it, he would hand it to 
some printer, so that it might be republished for 
circulation in the United States. This he did with 
a note commending the author and his writings, 
which was intended to be confidential, but it was 
published as an introduction to the volume and 
brought down upon him the universal condemna 
tion of the religious people of the country as well 
as the Federalists. Among his critics was an 
anonymous writer who signed himself " Publi- 
cola." Jefferson wrote Adams to explain the 
blunder by which his endorsement of the " Rights 
of Man" was published, and spoke with bitter con 
tempt of " Publicola" as a mischief-maker. Un 
fortunately, " Publicola" was no other than John 
Quincy Adams, a son of the Vice-President, whose 
family felt great pride in his controversial abili 
ties, so that Jefferson s second letter on the subject 
was worse than the first, and caused a temporary 
suspension of their relations. 

Adams understood Jefferson as Jefferson under 
stood him, and in 1797, when they came to Phila 
delphia as President and Vice-President elect, the 
shrewd old Yankee promptly and carefully ex- 

237 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

terminated all germs of hope that Jefferson might 
have nourished about sharing the honors and re 
sponsibilities of the government. As Adams must 
have suspected, the latter had made plans in that 
direction before he left Monticello, and attempted 
to win the confidence of the new President by 
playing upon his jealous and suspicious egotism. 
In a letter worthy of Mephisto himself he intimated 
to Adams that " your arch friend in New York," 
meaning Hamilton, " intends mischief." Adams 
made no reply. He was too old a bird to be 
caught in that kind of a trap. Jefferson called 
upon him immediately upon his arrival in Phila 
delphia. Adams returned the visit the next day, 
and expressed his gratification at finding the Vice- 
President alone, as he desired a " free conversa 
tion" with him, of which we have Jefferson s ver 
sion. Suspicious of each other, the two shrewd 
politicians sparred for awhile, and then the Presi 
dent tempted his colleague with an offer to return 
to his former diplomatic post at Paris. We can 
only infer his desire to banish so active and dan 
gerous a rival from the country; but Jefferson 
showed no inclination to go into exile, and they 
exchanged regrets that circumstances should pro 
hibit the country from enjoying the benefits of 
Jefferson s diplomacy. As he could not realize 
what he said was " the first wish of his heart" 
(which was to get rid of Jefferson), the President 
suggested that Madison and Gerry, the most use 
ful and important lieutenants of Jefferson, ought 
to be sent as commissioners, to which the latter 
promptly assented. 

What occurred in the meantime has never been 
explained, but three days later, while walking home 
from a dinner at General Washington s, the Presi 
dent-elect explained, "with excuses which evidently 

238 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

embarrassed him," that " objections which he had 
not contemplated had been raised/ and that it 
would be inexpedient to nominate Jefferson s 
friends. " He never after that said one word 
to me on the subject," writes the Vice-President, 
"or ever again consulted me as to any measure 
of the government." 

Just before the expiration of the Seventh Con 
gress in 1 80 1 an act was passed creating a number 
of new district and circuit courts. Adams, an 
ticipating the opportunity, selected the judges .from 
among his friends and political supporters, and had 
their commissions prepared before he approved the 
law. It was then the practice for Congress to 
adjourn at midnight on the third instead of at 
noon on the fourth of March as at present, and 
the official authority of the President expired at 
the same moment. Jefferson, being aware of the 
greed of Adams for patronage, and of his intention 
to appoint the judges, gave his watch to Levi 
Lincoln, who had been selected for his Cabinet, 
and told him to take possession of the office of the 
Secretary of State as the hands pointed to mid 
night. Obeying instructions, Lincoln interrupted 
Chief-Justice Marshall, who had been Secretary 
of State, in the act of attesting the commissions 
of the new judges with the great seal of state. 
A few had been completed, but the greater part 
lacked the seal. Lincoln entered Judge Marshall s 
office without warning and said, 

" I have been ordered by President Jefferson 
to take possession of this department and its 
papers." 

" Mr. Jefferson has not yet qualified as Presi 
dent," exclaimed the astonished Chief- Justice. 

" Nevertheless, he considers himself an executor 
or trustee, and instructs me to take charge of the 

239 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

archives of this department until he is duly quali 
fied." 

" But it is not yet twelve o clock," said Judge 
Marshall, taking out his watch. 

" This is the President s watch and rules the 
hour," said Lincoln 

Judge Marshall carried away with him the com 
missions that were completed, and the men who 
received them were afterwards known as " Adams s 
midnight judges." 

Adams was mortified because he was not allowed 
a second term in the Presidency, like Washington, 
and attributed his rejection to the intrigues of 
Jefferson, rather than to the dissatisfaction of the 
country with his administration and his own blun 
ders. So great was his disappointment that he 
refused to remain in Washington for the inaugu 
ration of his successor, but left the White House 
in a carriage for Baltimore not long after the en 
counter between Levi Lincoln and John Marshall. 
Jefferson construed Adams s undignified departure 
as a childish attempt to humiliate him, and con 
sidered the appointment of the " midnight judges" 
an infringement of his prerogatives and an in 
vasion of his authority as President, and for sev 
eral years he and Adams were bitterly hostile, 
although he continued to correspond with Mrs. 
Adams in the most friendly manner. On the other 
hand Adams was offended with Jefferson because 
of the removal of his son. John Quincy, from one 
of the federal offices in Boston. Jefferson after 
wards explained that he would not have removed 
the son had he known of the relationship. A recon 
ciliation was brought about by Dr. Benjamin Rush, 
for which Jefferson was prepared by a sympathetic 
letter from Mrs. Adams after the death of his 
daughter, Mrs. Eppes. 

240 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

The letter of Dr. Rush to Adams urging the 
reconciliation is one of the most eloquent appeals 
that can be imagined. He says : " Fellow laborers 
in erecting the fabric of American liberty and in 
dependence; fellow sufferers in the calumnies and 
falsehoods of party rage ; fellow heirs of the grati 
tude and affection of posterity; and fellow pas 
sengers in the same stage which must soon convey 
you both into the presence of the Judge with whom 
forgiveness and the love of your enemies is the 
condition of his acceptance, embrace, embrace each 
other, bedew your letters of reconciliation with 
tears of affection and joy." 

Jefferson and Adams resumed their correspond 
ence and friendly relations, and they lasted until 
their death, which occurred on the same day. Some 
of Jefferson s partisans refused to ratify the recon 
ciliation, and when one of his most ardent wor 
shippers was informed that Adams died almost 
at the same hour as Jefferson, he exclaimed in a 
passion that " it was a damned Yankee trick." 

Jefferson undoubtedly had a sincere and honest 
respect for Washington. He once remarked that 
" Washington errs as other men do, but errs with 
integrity." But the passion and the impatience 
of a partisan, because of Washington s friendship 
with his political enemies, led him to say privately 
to friends what he would not have uttered publicly. 
He evidently underestimated Washington s intel 
lectual ability, and continually imposed upon his 
good-nature. The President s patience and forbear 
ance were extraordinary. He must have had pro 
found confidence in Jefferson s integrity and ability 
to have tolerated him so long. There is no similar 
instance in the history of the government. Lin 
coln s patience was sorely tried at times by the 
members of his official family and Cabinet feuds 
16 241 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

have been frequent, but no other President has 
ever endured with such saintly toleration trials 
equal to those which Jefferson imposed upon 
Washington. 

Jefferson is usually conceded to be the shrewdest 
politician this country has ever produced, and he 
resorted to measures which would not be tolerated 
by this generation. His personal correspondence 
and the confidential diary which he kept under the 
title of " Anas" prove that he used underhand 
methods and was commonly engaged in intrigue 
not only against his colleagues in the Cabinet, but 
even against Washington, whose loyalty and con 
fidence in him were complete. He has been accused 
of " shielding himself like a coward behind a clerk 
in his department who was allowed to publicly 
assail the character as well as the conduct <of 
Washington/ but it really required more courage 
for Jefferson to sustain Freneau under the cir 
cumstances than to discharge him. Furthermore, 
he freely accused his official associates of treason. 
He openly charged Hamilton with conspiracy to 
overthrow the republic and set up a monarchy. 
He declared that Hamilton s influence in Congress 
was obtained by bribery and corruption by the use 
of government funds and bonds. No other Presi 
dent in the long list of American rulers would have 
submitted to such audacity, for Jefferson was any 
thing but a coward. But Washington confided in 
his loyalty and admired his ability, and his per 
sonal affection was never impaired, although their 
relations were those of the merest courtesy after 
Jefferson s retirement from the Cabinet. 

An adventurer named Freneau, a man of eccen 
tric experience, a poet, a sea-captain, and the editor 
of a local paper, was appointed by Jefferson a 
translator in the Department of State at a salary 

242 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

of two hundred and fifty dollars a year upon 
the recommendation of Madison, who had been 
his classmate at Princeton College. The appoint 
ment was made with the understanding that Fre- 
neau s paper was to become the organ of the Re 
publican party, and writing Madison, Jefferson says 
that he intended to give him " the perusal of all 
my letters of foreign intelligence and all the for 
eign newspapers, the publication of all proclama 
tions and other public notices that are in my de 
partment, and the printing of the laws which, added 
to his salary, would have been considerable aid." 

Freneau appears to have known what was ex 
pected of him, for his paper immediately began 
a series of most vigorous and vicious assaults 
upon the administration. His scurrilous abuse 
of Hamilton and disrespectful references to Wash 
ington as a man, as well as the President of the 
United States, created profound indignation among 
all fair-minded people, but Jefferson stubbornly 
refused to rebuke Freneau or remove him from 
office. Finally the quarrel with Hamilton reached 
a crisis. Hoping to bring about a reconciliation, 
Washington appealed to each of them in an affec 
tionate personal letter. Hamilton answered in a 
dignified and courteous manner and a conciliatory 
disposition, but with much feeling. Jefferson s 
reply was insulting and inexcusable. He defended 
his own conduct and charged Hamilton with cor 
ruption, conspiracy, and treason, with intentions 
to overthrow the government and establish a mon 
archy, with corrupting Congress by the use of 
the public funds, with dealing out valuable Treas 
ury secrets among his friends, and with appointing 
the relatives and friends of Senators, Representa 
tives, and newspaper editors in order to secure 
their favor and support. Such a letter, written 

243 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

by a member of the Cabinet to the President con 
cerning one of his colleagues, would be impossible 
at this day, and it shows the depth of Jefferson s 
malice and meanness; yet Washington, out of 
respect for Jefferson s abilities and patriotism, over 
looked the insult and allowed him to remain in 
the Cabinet. Jefferson rewarded him by permit 
ting Freneau to continue his insults and indignities 
upon Washington s character and motives, to ac 
cuse him of debauching the country, with seeking 
a crown, and with " passing himself off as an honest 
man." Washington told Jefferson one day, and 
Jefferson notes the fact in his diary, that he could 
see in Freneau s conduct " nothing but an im 
pudent design to insult him." There is another 
entry in Jefferson s journal which reads : " He 
[Washington] adverted to a piece in Freneau s 
paper of yesterday. He was evidently sore and 
warm, and I took his intention to be that I should 
interpose in some way with Freneau, perhaps with 
draw his appointment of translating clerk to my 
office. But I will not do it." 

Jefferson s own lips and pen furnish the evi 
dence to convict him of these atrocious attacks 
upon his friend and benefactor, President Wash 
ington, but it is a question of veracity between his 
creature, Freneau, and himself as to which actually 
penned the insults to the President. While Jeffer 
son was still in the Cabinet, Freneau went before 
the Mayor of Philadelphia and took an oath that 
the Secretary of State was not responsible either 
directly or indirectly for the contemptible articles 
that had been published concerning the President, 
but later in life confessed that he made this affi 
davit to protect his employer and patron, that Jef 
ferson either wrote or dictated many of them, 
and furnished a file of his paper with the articles 

244 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

marked which Jefferson had written. A careful 
comparison of these articles with other productions 
of Jefferson s pen show the unmistakable similarity 
in literary style and forms of expression, but these 
disclosures did not seem to have affected public 
opinion concerning the morals or the manners of 
Jefferson. The Federalist made the most of them, 
and the Republicans defended Jefferson with en 
ergy and loyalty. 

While the Jay treaty with Great Britain was 
under debate in the Senate Jefferson wrote a letter 
to an Italian friend named Mazzei who occupied an 
adjoining plantation in Virginia, but who at that 
moment was in Europe attempting to negotiate 
a loan for the United States with a petty prince 
of Hungary. This letter mainly related to private 
affairs, but concluded with a review of the politi 
cal situation, and charged Washington, the Senate, 
and the Supreme Court with aristocratic and mon 
archical tendencies, and with betraying their coun 
try under British inducements. It was intemperate, 
partisan, unjust, and untrue, but, like other letters 
which gave him so much trouble to explain, was 
intended to be confidential. In some way, how 
ever, it was published in an Italian paper, repro 
duced in France, and translated from the French 
for the New York press, where it was denounced 
as treasonable, and Jefferson was called upon to 
admit the authorship or repudiate it. 

It was one of the strangest things in his life 
that he held his peace under the attack. Never 
before had he avoided a newspaper controversy, 
but he must have realized what shame and con 
tempt would follow an acknowledgment of the 
authorship and was therefore afraid to face it. 
Later, however, he wrote Madison admitting that 
he had written the letter, but explaining that his 

245 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

original thoughts had been mangled and misrepre 
sented by the various translators through whose 
hands it had passed. At the same time he de 
clined to avow the letter because " it would be 
impossible for me to explain this publicly without 
bringing on a personal difference between General 
Washington and myself which nothing before the 
publication of this letter has ever done. It would 
embroil me also with all those with whom his 
character is still popular, that is to say, nine tenths 
of the people in the United States." In his old 
age the story was revived by Timothy Pickering, 
and Jefferson again boldly denied the authorship. 
Washington always believed that Jefferson wrote 
the letter, and it caused a breach between them that 
was never healed. From that time they ceased 
all correspondence and intercourse, and in a letter 
to John Nicholas he expressed his belief that Jef 
ferson was insincere in his .friendships. 

That Jefferson was willing to subordinate his 
personal feelings to his public duty, and that he 
was not entirely disloyal to Washington, is illus 
trated by the incident of Citizen Genet, the French 
minister, who was the cause of the most embar 
rassing crisis during the Presidency of Washing 
ton. In 1778, during the darkest days of the 
Revolution, the United States made a treaty of 
alliance with France, without which it is doubtful 
whether the colonies could have achieved their 
independence. In 1793 France declared war 
against Great Britain, and called upon the United 
States to redeem the pledges of that treaty. As 
suming that we would furnish the same aid to 
the French that they had furnished to us fifteen 
years before, Citizen Genet began to buy arms, 
enlist men, and fit out privateers in this country, 
thus provoking a protest from the British govern- 

246 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

ment. The crisis became acute. The Cabinet as 
well as the public were divided in opinion, there 
being a strong public sympathy for France. Ham 
ilton, Randolph, General Knox, and other con 
servative men took the ground that the treaty of 
1778 was made with the King of France, who was 
our best friend among all the rulers of Europe, 
and not with the bloodthirsty and irresponsible 
leaders of the Revolution who had murdered him 
and overthrown his government. They argued 
that the French republic had repudiated all the 
acts of the monarchy and that the treaty, having 
been executed with the monarchy, terminated 
when the latter was overthrown. The people of 
the United States were under no obligation to 
the leaders of the French Revolution, and could 
have no part or lot with such atheists, anarchists, 
and assassins. Furthermore, their war against 
England was aggressive and unjust. Jefferson 
and his supporters, who were earnest in their sym 
pathy with the Revolution, held that the treaty was 
still in force, and that a change of government 
from a monarchy to a republic in France only 
made the moral obligation more binding upon the 
United States. 

Washington was equal to the occasion. Deaf 
to the pleadings of his Secretary of State in be 
half of France, he instructed Attorney-General 
Randolph, who had kept a cool head, to draw up 
a proclamation of neutrality, which Foster, in his 
" Century of American Diplomacy," declares has 
" had a greater influence in moulding international 
law than any other single document of the last 
hundred years, and has been taken as a model 
by all other nations." It was a simple announce 
ment of the neutrality of the United States, and 
admonished all citizens to observe it. In private 

247 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

letters Jefferson denounced the proclamation, but 
in his public papers he declared that it was based 
upon correct principles of international law, and 
made a clear and forcible defence of the attitude 
of the administration. 

Jefferson was provoked because he was not 
selected to draw the neutrality proclamation, but 
in the long and frequent Cabinet discussions he 
had shown such ardent sympathy with the French 
and M. Genet, their audacious representative, that 
Washington would not trust him, and committed 
the important task to Edmund Randolph, whose 
views coincided with his own. Jefferson in his 
chagrin wrote Madison, " I dare say you will 
have judged from the pusillanimity of the procla 
mation from whose pen it came." He continued 
privately to defend and encourage Genet in his 
mischief, and wrote Madison again, " It is im 
possible for anything to be more affectionate, more 
magnanimous than the purport of his mission. He 
offers everything and asks nothing." 

However, under the direction of the President 
Jefferson was obliged to inform Genet that his 
conduct was intolerable. It was a disagreeable 
duty reluctantly performed. He wrote a plain and 
manly note, which Genet ignored so contemptu 
ously that Jefferson s indignation was aroused, and 
when Genet actually insulted Washington by de 
claring publicly that he would appeal from the 
President to the people, and would not obey the 
President until the people had confirmed his action, 
Jefferson dealt with him in a patriotic and deter 
mined manner. Genet thereupon turned against 
Jefferson, charging him with duplicity by giving 
him encouragement in private and censuring him 
in public. Genet did not return to France, but 
remained in New York, took out naturalization 

248 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

papers, and married the daughter of Governor 
De Witt Clinton, afterwards Vice-President. 

Jefferson s clerk, Freneau, continued to attack 
Washington s motives in his paper, accusing him 
of debauching the country and scheming to be 
king. This made Washington very angry, but 
Jefferson still declined to dismiss Freneau, and 
was himself compelled to resign from the Cabinet. 
He was succeeded as Secretary of State by Ed 
mund Randolph, whom he had so severely criti 
cised. 

In May, 1792, he had promised to resign in 
the following January, but when January came, 
much to the disappointment of the President, he 
reconsidered his purpose and remained at the head 
of the vState Department for the reason, as he ex 
plained, that he would not give his enemies the 
right to say that they had driven him out of office. 
Washington offered him the French mission in 
February, but Jefferson insisted upon retaining 
his anomalous relation, and did not resign until 
the following December. In the meantime the 
frequent, bitter controversies at the Cabinet meet 
ings continued, where, he says, he and Hamilton 
" were always pitted against each other like two 
game cocks." General Knox, the Secretary of 
War, always sided with Hamilton. Randolph, 
the Attorney-General, a Virginian, was sometimes 
on one side and sometimes on the other. Jefferson, 
with grim humor, said that the Cabinet stood two 
and a half to one and a half, Hamilton and Knox 
on one side, himself on the other, and Randolph 
on both sides. " He gives his principles to one 
party and his practice to the other; the oyster to 
one and the shell to the other." 

Jefferson did not object to opposition. " In 
fact," he said, " the world runs by friction. Men 

249 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

of energy, of character, must always have enemies. 
Dr. Franklin had many enemies, as every char 
acter must with decision enough to have opinions. 
In public life, a man whose political principles 
have any decided character, and who has energy 
enough to give them effect, must always expect 
to encounter political hostility from those of ad 
verse principles." 

While Secretary of State Jefferson kept a diary 
of incidents and gossip, which is referred to else 
where, setting down an abstract of the transactions 
of each Cabinet meeting and reports concerning 
politics and politicians which he had heard during 
each day. It is voluminous, and one wonders how 
a man of his many occupations, cares, and re 
sponsibilities could have devoted so much time 
to such apparently useless labor. It was no doubt 
intended for future campaign purposes, because it 
covers minutely the record of Hamilton s actions 
and conversations, even -the most trivial gossip. 
After his retirement he revised the manuscript, 
prepared a long and virtuous introduction, and 
left it with his other papers, evidently expecting 
it to be published. That such a record, intended 
to belittle his colleagues and grossly violating the 
confidence of Washington, as well as the proprieties 
of his own position, should be made a part of his 
tory aroused indignant remonstrances. It will 
always be a cloud upon his integrity of purpose; 
and, as is always the case, his spitefulness towards 
them injured him more than it injured Hamilton 
or Washington. 

The authorship of that " Immortal Document," 
the Farewell Address of President Washington, 
which is one of the stateliest examples of English 
composition, has been ascribed to Hamilton, Jef 
ferson, and Adams. General Washington was 

250 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

neither an orator nor a writer, although he ex 
pressed himself with a simple directness that is 
often more forcible and convincing than the most 
florid eloquence. According to Jefferson, the Fare 
well Address, delivered to Congress at Annapolis, 
was a composite of contributions from several 
sources. In a letter to Judge Johnson of South 
Carolina shortly before his death he offered this 
explanation : 

" With respect to his [Washington s] Farewell 
Address, to the authorship of which it seems there 
are conflicting claims, I can state you some facts. 
He had determined to decline a re-election at the 
end of his first term, and so far determined that 
he requested Mr. Madison to prepare for him some 
thing valedictory, to be addressed to his constitu 
ents on his retirement. This was done, but he 
was finally persuaded to acquiesce in a second elec 
tion, to which no one more strenuously pressed 
him than myself, from a conviction of the impor 
tance of strengthening, by longer habit, the respect 
necessary for that office, which the weight of his 
character only could effect. When, at the end 
of his second term, his Valedictory came out, Mr. 
Madison recognized in it several passages of his 
draught; several others, we were both satisfied, 
were from the pen of Hamilton ; and others from 
that of the President himself. These he probably 
put into the hands of Hamilton to form into a 
whole, and hence it may all appear in Hamilton s 
handwriting, as if it were all of his composi- 
tion." 

Jefferson says in one of his letters that " Polite 
ness seems to have been invented to enable people 
who would naturally fall out to live together in 
peace," and it was that which kept Jefferson and 
Hamilton on friendly terms with one another for 

251 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

many months after both discovered that they dif 
fered on every leading question. 

Jefferson made a bargain with Hamilton, then 
his friend and colleague in the Cabinet, but soon 
after his bitterest enemy, to locate the capital 
of the Nation on the banks of the Potomac, 
but it was not long before he regretted his part 
in the transaction and pretended that he had 
been used as a cat s-paw by his colleague. The 
Assumption Bill, so called, providing that the Gen 
eral Government should assume the war debts of 
the several States, amounting to about ten million 
dollars, was then the most exciting topic before 
Congress, and there was intense bitterness between 
the opposing parties, which were of almost equal 
strength. The Southern States expended little 
money during the war. The Northern States ex 
pended a great deal in the equipment of troops 
and the purchase of supplies. Therefore the 
Southern members of Congress were indifferent 
while those from the North were imperative in 
supporting the bill. The subject of second interest 
was the location of the capital city. The Northern 
representatives favored a location near German- 
town, Pennsylvania; the Southern members a site 
on the Potomac. 

Jefferson, who had just returned from five-years 
absence in France, was not committed to either 
project. Hamilton, being aware of this, induced 
him to invite several of the most conciliatory 
Southerners to dine at his house, and at that din 
ner a trade was arranged. Two of the Virginia 
members voted for the Assumption Bill, and two 
of the Pennsylvania members voted for the loca 
tion of the capital on the Potomac River opposite 
Georgetown, with a proviso that the seat of govern^ 
ment should remain at Philadelphia for ten years. 

252 



JEFFERSON S FRIENDS AND HIS ENEMIES 

A few months later, having discovered the in 
tense unpopularity of the Assumption proposition 
in the Southern States, where the war debts were 
small, Jefferson regretted his participation and 
accused Hamilton of trickery. Then began the 
quarrel which lasted a life-time. Jefferson, how 
ever, had no cause to complain. He was not the 
novice in politics or legislation that he represented 
himself to be. He was aware of the bitterness of 
the contest. His letters to Monroe, Gilmer, and 
others at the time are complete evidence that he 
fully understood what he was doing, and that the 
only deception in the matter was his own miscon 
ception of public sentiment in the South. He 
endeavored unfairly to place the blame of his own 
mistake upon others, and to represent himself as 
a guileless victim of a wicked conspirator. Nor 
was he candid with Hamilton. He continued to 
show a friendly disposition and confidence while 
he was denouncing him privately to his friends. 



253 



IX 

FOUNDER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 

/ JEFFERSON considered the University of Virginia 
the greatest triumph and the proudest achievement 
of his life, and measured its influence upon the 
generations that were to come after him as more 
important and effective for good than any other 
that might arise from all of his public- services^ 
The institution was the dream of his youth, and 
throughout his busy life, filled with cares, respon 
sibilities, and labor, his fidelity to the idea kept 
his mind always ready to grasp and utilize any 
opportunity which might promote its fulfilment. 

His desire was accomplished after a long strug 
gle and the exercise of remarkable patience and 
perseverance. He met with stubborn opposition 
from the very people it was intended to benefit, 
and although the Legislature of Virginia has made 
reasonable grants of aid from time to time, the 
institution has been kept alive and its influence 
extended by the generosity of people outside of 
that State. A glance at the list of endowments 
and gifts of money that have been made both 
before and since the war ought to be mortifying 
to every citizen of Virginia and the other Southern 
States. But for the munificence of Northern 
friends Jefferson s great monument and his great 
est gift to the American people would long ago 
have perished. 

Since its organization the institution has re 
ceived gifts and endowments to the amount of 

254 




ft 



FOUNDER OF UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 

$1,393,100, of which $1,038,000 was contributed 
by people living north of the Potomac River ; $207,- 
600 by people living south of the Potomac River, 
and $135,500 by general contributors from differ- 
. ent parts of the country who cannot be located. 
The most generous benefactors have been Mr. 
Arthur W. Austin, of Dedham, Massachusetts 
($470,000) ; D. B. Fayerweather, of New York 
($250,000) ; W. W. Corcoran, of Washington 
($106,000) ; Leander J. McCormick, of Chicago 
($68,000) ; Louis Brooks, of Rochester, New York 
($68,000) ; Mrs. Linden Kent, of Washington 
($55,000), and Charles Broadway Rouse, of New 
York ($35,000). The only man in the South 
who has given any considerable sum of money to 
the institution was the late Samuel Miller, of 
Campbell County, Virginia. He endowed a de 
partment of scientific and practical agriculture with 
the sum of $100,000. None of these benefactors 
were graduates in the institution. 

The University of Virginia has been and still 
is the most popular and influential educational in 
stitution in the South. It has a larger alumni 
than any other. Many of the prominent men in 
the Southern States were educated there; as a 
rule, it has had more graduates in the Senate and 
House of Representatives than any other institution 
in the country, more than Yale or Harvard or 
Princeton. But the people of Virginia have done 
little for it. They have treated Jefferson as they 
have treated the rest of the famous sons of the 
State, permitting their monuments to be erected 
by admirers in other parts of the country. 

Although the Father of Democracy, Jefferson 
was the first conspicuous advocate in this country 
of centralization in education, being a thorough 
believer in state aid to higher institutions of learn- 

255 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

ing and free education in the common schools 
supported by local taxation. To him the school- 
house was the fountain-head of happiness, pros 
perity, and good government, and education was 
* a holy cause:" 

" ( i ) To give to every citizen the information 
he needs for the transaction of his own business ; 

" (2) To enable him to calculate for himself, 
and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts 
and accounts, in writing; 

" (3) To improve, by reading, his morals and 
faculties ; 

"(4) To understand his duties to his neighbors 
and country, and to discharge with competence 
the functions confided to him by either; 

" (5) To know his rights; to exercise with 
order and justice those he retains ; to choose with 
discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates ; and 
to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor 
and judgement; 

" (6) And, in general, to observe with intelli 
gence and faithfulness all the social relations un 
der which he shall be placed." 

He was an advocate of practical learning, and, 
when appointed a visitor to William and Mary 
College in 1779, endeavored to lop off the dead 
branches that hindered, as he thought, its useful 
operation. He caused the grammar-school to be 
abolished and the two professorships of divinity 
and Hebrew to be suppressed. In place of these 
he made provision for the instruction of the stu 
dents in chemistry, natural history, anatomy, medi 
cine, law, modern languages, the fine arts, justice, 
and the laws of nations. 

Jefferson s educational plan, which he prepared 
for the State of Virginia, was comprehensive. It 
provided first for elementary schools in every 

256 



FOUNDER OF UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 

county, " which will place every householder within 
three miles of a school ; district schools which will 
place every father within a day s ride of a college 
where he may dispose of his son; a university in 
a healthy and central situation. In the elementary 
schools will be taught reading, writing, common 
arithmetic, and general notions of geography. In 
the second, ancient and modern languages, etc., 
mensuration and the elementary principles of navi 
gation, and in the third, all the useful sciences in 
their highest degree." 

He laid off every county into districts five or 
six miles square, called " hundreds," the teacher 
to be supported by the people within that limit; 
every family to send their children free for three 
years, and as much longer as they pleased, pro 
vided they paid for it; these schools to be under 
the charge of " a visitor, who is annually to select 
the boy of the best genius in the school, whose 
parents are too poor to give him an education, 
and send him to a grammar school," of which 
twenty were to be erected in different parts of 
Virginia ; " and of the boys in each grammar 
school the best is to be selected to be sent to the 
University free of cost." 

Jefferson s first idea of a university for Virginia 
was to transform his venerable alma mater, Wil 
liam and Mary College, which was under the care 
of the church, into a non-sectarian State institu 
tion, and in 1795 he corresponded with Washington 
on the subject. He also asked Washington s co 
operation in bringing the faculty of the Calvin- 
istic Seminary of Geneva en masse to the United 
States, and proposed the plan to the Legislature. 
It was considered too grand and expensive an 
enterprise for the feeble colony, and Washington s 
practical mind questioned the expediency of im- 
17 257 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

porting a body of foreign theologians and scholars 
who were not familiar with the language or the 
customs of the people. Jefferson then suggested 
the faculty of the University of Edinburgh, but 
similar objections were heard from every direction, 
and the plan was reluctantly abandoned. 

Washington had proposed a national university, 
had reserved for it a site in the new federal dis 
trict, and had provided in his will for the nucleus 
of an endowment by setting aside the shares he 
owned in a corporation called the Potomac Com 
pany, which were then profitable, but soon after 
his death lost their value. Jefferson endorsed the 
scheme in a message to Congress in 1806, while 
he was President. Washington was equally gen 
erous towards a new college established at Lex 
ington and called by his name, now known as 
Washington and Lee University. With these two 
institutions in his mind, it was not to be expected 
that he would enter heartily into Jefferson s plan 
for a third, although it does not appear that he 
ever offered opposition or threw obstacles in Jeffer 
son s way. 

Jefferson reluctantly gave up his plan of im 
porting a ready-made university, but continued 
to discuss the necessity of a State institution with 
a view of educating the public and securing the 
support and cooperation of influential friends. He 
showed greater persistence and tenacity towards 
this than towards any other project of his life. It 
became his favorite hobby, and he never failed 
to bring it to the attention of foreign visitors with 
whom he had intercourse during his official life 
and after his retirement. He studied European 
institutions with great care, their systems of edu 
cation, their plans of government, their architec 
ture, their methods of conferring honors and de- 

258 



FOUNDER OF UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 

grees, until perhaps no one on either continent 
became so familiar with the subject. He found 
a zealous coadjutor in Joseph C. Cabell, a wealthy 
and cultured Virginian, who had travelled exten 
sively in Europe, had spent some years at the 
German universities, and was familiar with those 
of England and France. By the urgent advice of 
Jefferson he became a member of the Legislature 
of Virginia and was reflected to that body for 
twenty years, chiefly to champion Jefferson s three 
great ideas, popular education, free local schools, 
and a State university. 

In 1814 Cabell introduced a bill, which became 
a law, chartering an academy for Albemarle 
County, the funds to be raised by lottery. Jeffer 
son was made chairman of the board of trustees. 
A site was selected where the University of Vir 
ginia now stands, but the project went no farther. 

Two years later the Legislature passed an act 
providing that " certain escheats, penalties and for 
feitures" imposed by the courts should be devoted 
to the encouragement of learning, and Jefferson s 
keen scent saw in it the possibility of endowment 
for a State institution. He attempted to secure 
the funds for the proposed Albemarle Academy, 
but met with determined opposition from William 
and Mary College, from Washington College at 
Lexington, and from the churches, which were 
opposed to non-sectarian education. Jefferson en 
deavored to arrange a compromise under which 
either of the two existing institutions might be 
transformed into a State university, but their de 
nominational trustees would not surrender them, 
and his fixed convictions could not tolerate the idea 
of ecclesiastical influence in higher education. 

It was slow work raising funds for Albemarle 
Academy. Those who did not belong to the church 

259 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

were poor, and orthodox churchmen would not 
contribute to any institution that was not endorsed 
by the clergy. Furthermore, the name localized 
the academy and prevented Jefferson from se 
curing assistance outside of the county. Hence 
he had the charter rights transferred to " Central 
College," an institution to be established under 
the care of the State, with a board of trustees con 
sisting of Jefferson, Madison (then President), 
Monroe (then Secretary of State), J. C. Cabell, his 
representative in the Legislature, and other sym 
pathetic friends. With the money contributed to 
Albemarle Academy he purchased two hundred 
acres of land, " high, dry, open, furnished with 
good water, and nothing in the vicinity which 
could threaten the health of the students," one 
mile from Charlottesville, and the price paid was 
fifteen hundred and eighteen dollars and seventy- 
five cents. The University of Virginia now stands 
upon that land. Subscriptions to the amount of 
forty- four thousand dollars were obtained, each 
of the trustees subscribing one thousand dollars. 
Jefferson produced architectural designs upon 
which he had been constantly engaged since his 
retirement from the Presidency. They were an 
adaptation of mediaeval cloistered retreats. The 
buildings were to surround three sides of a quad 
rangle. The two arms were to consist of dormi 
tories opening upon covered colonnades for the 
accommodation of the students, with two-story 
houses at equal intervals for the use of the pro 
fessors; while the central side was to be occupied 
by an imposing structure with a dome to contain 
the recitation-rooms, the library, and the offices 
of administration. It was the same plan that was 
afterwards carried out with greater elaboration. 
The corner-stone of the first building was laid on 

260 



FOUNDER OF UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 

October 6, 1817, by James Monroe, then President 
of the United States. 

Jefferson s persistent advocacy of a State uni 
versity had made the idea so popular, and had so 
impressed the people with the necessity of such 
an institution, that the Legislature in 1818 passed 
an act appointing a board of commissioners to 
report a plan and select a site, and appropriating 
fifteen thousand dollars as the first instalment. 
Jefferson hurried the work upon " Central Col 
lege," so as to strengthen the claim of that insti 
tution, and appeared in .its behalf before the com 
missioners, who met in)" a low ceiled, white washed 
room" in a tavern aT^ock-FishJ^ap in the Blue 
Ridge Mountains iiTAugust,(i 8 1 8Qlt was a mem 
orable gathering. The President f the United 
States, Monroe, and two ex-Presidents, Jefferson 
and Madison, were there, zealously lobbying in 
the interests of their young institution. Three 
locations were proposed, Lexington, Staunton, 
and Charlottesville. Jefferson, then seventy-five 
years old, made the argument in behalf of Char 
lottesville, and demonstrated by a map that it was 
the centre of population. When the ballot was 
taken Charlottesville received sixteen, Lexington 
three, and Staunton two votes. The decision was 
made unanimous and Jefferson was authorized 
to draw the report, which recommended : 

1. The recognition of Central College as a State 
university. 

2. The adoption of his plan of buildings called 
" an academical village." 

3. An elective course of study, described in de 
tail, covering five years. 

4. General provisions for the government of the 
students, for discipline, tuition, board, lodgings, 
degrees, prizes, etc. 

261 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

This report was an elaboration of the ideas 
which Mr. Jefferson had been advocating all his 
life; the formulation of the information, observa 
tion, experience, and reflection of forty years, and 
the University of Virginia to-day is the practical 
embodiment of these recommendations. 

The report was well received by the Legislature, 
but met with determined opposition from the Epis 
copal and other clergy of the State, from rival 
colleges, and from Jefferson s personal enemies 
and political opponents, who realized the depth of 
his interest in the project and the fact that his 
life and happiness were wrapped up in the result. 
Cabell stood as its defender and advocate, and 
when the act was finally passed, on January 25, 
1819, he dropped from exhaustion, and never re 
covered his strength. 

The property of Central College was conveyed 
to a board of trustees representing the State. 
Thomas Jefferson was appointed Rector of the new 
institution, and henceforth he was able to carry 
out his plans unhampered, except by poverty .^>Not 
only did he devise the entire system of instruction, 
but every feature of administration and construc 
tion, drawing the plans and specifications, making 
the estimates of cost and the contracts for con 
struction, and personally superintending the work. 
When his increasing infirmities prevented him from 
going to the grounds he watched the builders from 
Monticello through a telescope, which is sacredly 
preserved in the library of the University. The 
superintendent reported to him at the close of 
every day the minutest details, which were care 
fully recorded in his own handwriting. He edu 
cated masons, bricklayers, and carpenters to do 
the work; he designed tools for them to use; 
taught them how to cover roofs with tin and 

262 



FOUNDER OF UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 

to sprinkle coarse sand in their paint so as to give 
the woodwork the appearance of stone; and when 
he could find no one in Virginia competent to 
chisel the capitals of the marble columns he im 
ported sculptors from Italy. 

His thought and labor for this institution, and 
the obstacles he had to overcome in procuring the 
necessary funds, served to distract his thoughts 
in a measure from his own pecuniary embarrass 
ments, which so embittered the closing years of 
his life. 

Edward Bacon, his overseer, tells how the build 
ings for " Central College" were begun. In his 
reminiscences he says : " My instruction was to 
get ten able bodied hands to commence the work. 
I soon got them and Mr. Jefferson started from 
Monticello to lay off the foundation, and see the 
work commenced. An Irishman named Dinsmore 
and I went along with him. As we passed through 
Charlottesville, I went to old Davy Isaac s store, 
and got a ball of twine, and Dinsmore found some 
shingles and made some pegs, and we all went 
on to the old field together. Mr. Jefferson looked 
over the ground for some time and then stuck 
down a peg. He stuck the very first peg in that 
building, and then directed me where to carry the 
line, and I stuck the second. He carried one end 
of the line and I the other in laying off the foun 
dation of the University. He had a little rule in 
his pocket that he always carried with him, and 
with this he measured off the ground, and laid 
off the entire foundation, and then set the men at 
work. 

" After the foundation was nearly completed, 
they had a great time laying the corner stone. 
The old field was covered with carriages and 
people. There was an immense crowd there. Mr. 

263 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Monroe laid the corner stone. He was President 
at that time. Mr. Jefferson, poor old man, I 
can see his white head just as he stood there and 
looked on. After this he rode there from Monti- 
cello every day while the University was building, 
unless the weather was very stormy. He looked 
after all the materials and would not allow any poor 
materials to go into the building if he could help 
it. He took as much pains in seeing that every 
thing was done right as if it had been his own 
house." 

Jefferson continued his personal supervision to 
the end of his days and kept the records of the 
institution with great detail, notwithstanding his 
age and an infirm wrist, which had been fractured. 
The last entry included the minutes of a meeting 
of the Board of Visitors only a few days before 
his death. For a man who wrote so much he 
was a marvellous penman. Every page is neat, 
every letter plainly and perfectly formed, so that 
his writing is as easy to read as print,. and up to 
the last shows a firmness and regularity quite as 
marked as the pages he wrote in early manhood. 

His original intention was to use in the build 
ings nothing but Virginia stone, but when he 
found that it was not adapted for fine carving 
he brought marble from Carrara. There is noth 
ing to be seen, there is scarcely anything to be 
heard, and very few ideas can be suggested at 
the University of Virginia that did not spring from 
Jefferson s fertile and comprehensive mind. His 
architectural designs, however, were not original. 
Most of them were copied by his own hand or 
that of his granddaughter from a picture-book, 
The Architecture of A. Palladio," well known 
to students in that branch of art. It contains 
engravings of classic models of the five orders 

264 



FOUNDER OF UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 

of architecture, with " the most necessary observa 
tions," by Giacomo Leoni, a Venetian, and " Notes 
and Remarks of Inigo Jones, now first taken from 
his Original Manuscript in Worcester College 
Library, Oxford." Jefferson appears to have given 
the volume careful study for years, and reproduced 
among the buildings of the University those fea 
tures of architecture among its illustrations which 
to his taste were the purest and most beautiful 
examples of the classic period, the theatre of 
Marcellus, the baths of Diocletian and Caracalla, 
the temple of Fortuna Virilis, and for the central 
figure of the composition he reconstructed the 
Roman Pantheon, the temple of all the gods, re 
duced to one-third of its original size, but still 
majestic and imposing. 

The curves of the dome, when extended to the 
ground, describe an exact circle, and in symmetry 
and simplicity he esteemed it the noblest expres 
sion of human construction. In selecting this 
model for the library Jefferson desired to keep 
constantly before the eyes of the students an object- 
lesson that would elevate their taste and appeal 
to the highest sense of the artistic. 

These buildings are grouped around a quad 
rangle one thousand feet in length by five hundred 
feet in width, the library lifting its noble form 
at one end, and a group of new Ionic buildings 
at the other, erected recently to take the place of 
those which were destroyed by fire in 1895. The 
three sides of the quadrangle are lined with por 
ticoes extending from the buildings twenty feet 
or more and sustained by rows of white pillars. 
They resemble the cloisters of an ancient monas 
tery. The students occupy monkish cells, entered 
from the arcade and lighted from the rear, while 
at intervals the sameness is broken by a two-story 

265 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

structure, with a bold, bald front, in which a 
professor resides. The ground slopes just enough 
to enable the landscape gardener to make a series 
of terraces upon the lawn, and the magnificent 
shade-trees, luxuriant shrubbery, and the quaint 
serpentine fences of brick combine to make a pic 
ture more classic, attractive, and novel than can 
be found in any other American town. 

The buildings furnish a striking contrast to the 
ugly, square-cornered, many-windowed, factory- 
like dormitories and recitation-halls found upon the 
campus of the ordinary college in the North. The 
leanness of their endowments and the demand for 
educational accommodations tempted their trustees, 
no doubt, to buy as many brick and partition off 
as many rooms as they could with the money, with 
out a thought of the esthetic. But Jefferson had 
an ideal, the result of years of inquiry and con 
templation, and he endeavored to combine and 
carry out in the University of Virginia an intel 
lectual, political, and moral development, and the 
cultivation of an artistic taste among his country 
men. As a consequence one finds at that institu 
tion imposing architectural effects, a curriculum 
which embraces all branches of human knowledge, 
and a code of rules which recognizes that boys 
as well as men are capable of self-government and 
are controlled by the instincts of honor. 

Several buildings have been added to the scho 
lastic colony since his day, but the original group 
as planned by him still remains the most notable 
example in the United States of the classic school 
of architecture. The gymnasium is detached and 
stands some distance from the library; the chapel 
is a Gothic structure, entirely out of harmony with 
the rest of the buildings, and looks as if it were 
guilty of an unwarranted intrusion. 

266 




GLIMPSE OK DORMITORIES, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 
(Designed by Thomas Jefferson) 






FOUNDER OF UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 

Running in parallel lines with the long sides 
of the quadrangle, are low dormitories and other 
buildings for the accommodation of literary so 
cieties and the professors, all connected by colon 
nades; so that it is possible to visit nine-tenths 
of the University, including the professors resi 
dences, without passing from under the roofs. 

James Monroe used to live in a house on a 
little hill just outside the quadrangle, but his man 
sion was burned some years ago, and the site is 
now occupied by a dormitory. His law office is 
preserved as he left it. 

The motto of the University, selected by Jeffer- ] 
son, is~ "Ariel ye shall know the truth, and the 
truth shall make you free." The central idea is 
" freedom." Jefferson seems to have had that 
word in his mind continually. " I have sworn," 
he said, " upon the altar of God eternal hostility 
against every form of tyranny over the mind of 
man," and in framing the organization of this 
institution he introduced every form of freedom 
that could be applied. The members of the faculty 
are free to exercise their own judgment within 
their jurisdiction. The University of Virginia is 
the only institution of its kind in this country 
without a president. For convenience in transact 
ing business the faculty elect a chairman from 
among its own members and appoint committees 
to look after the various interests of the institu 
tion. But so long as he attends properly to his 
duties and satisfies the requirements of the Board 
of Visitors each professor is at the head of an 
independent school and can arrange the work and 
prescribe the instruction of his students. 

At the same time the student is free in selecting 
his studies. There is no prescribed course. He 
can follow any line of learning he likes. He is 

267 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

free to go and come as pleases him best, but he 
must be a gentleman and learn enough to pass 
his examinations before can get a degree. He is 
free from all espionage by the faculty. There 
is no compulsory attendance at chapel or elsewhere. 
The rules require from every student " decorous, 
sober and upright conduct as long as he remains 
a member of the university, whether he be within 
its precincts or not." " If in the opinion of the 
faculty any student be not fulfilling the purposes 
for which he ought to have come, the faculty may 
require him to withdraw after informing him of 
the objections to his conduct and affording him 
an opportunity of explanation and defense." 
" Drunkenness, gambling, and dissoluteness, pro 
fane language, extravagant habits, visiting bar 
rooms or gaming tables, the use or possession of 
fire arms, the contraction of debts, the introduction 
or the use of intoxicating drinks within the pre 
cincts of the university," are absolutely forbidden 
because they are not considered proper habits for 
a gentleman, and the University of Virginia is 
intended exclusively for that class of society. 

What is known as " the honor system" has 
always prevailed. The faculty assumes that every 
student is an honorable and a truthful man. Most 
of the discipline is left to the students themselves. 
The University is a little republic where self-gov 
ernment prevails and personal honor is sacred. 
The spirit of manliness makes every student care 
ful of his own and his comrades s behavior. When 
a boy shows a lack of self-respect or violates the 
proprieties to such an extent as to unfit him to be 
an associate for honorable young men, it seldom 
requires the intervention of the faculty to separate 
him from the institution. The students look after 
that themselves. 

268 



X 

JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN AND " JEFFER- 
SONIAN PRINCIPLES" 

WE are accustomed to being told by authors and 
orators that Thomas Jefferson was the ablest poli 
tician this country has thus far produced, and, 
judged by the standards of his generation, that is 
doubtless true. It is common to say and to believe 
that Washington was the greatest soldier, Marshall 
the ablest jurist, Henry the most eloquent orator, 
Webster and Clay the most convincing debaters 
this country has produced, yet there are giants in 
these days also whose proportions would be en 
larged by the perspective of a century but are 
diminished by familiarity. It is of course im 
possible to say whether Grant or Sherman pos 
sessed the untiring patience of Washington and 
could have led to victory the undisciplined troops 
of the Continental army; but the Justices of the 
Supreme Court to-day will tell you that the late 
Joseph P. Bradley was the most profound scholar 
that ever graced the American bench, and that 
Samuel F. Miller s mind was in every respect 
equal to Marshall s; Senators will contend that 
Conkling, Elaine, Thurman, Edmunds, Hoar, and 
Harrison could have met the ablest debaters of 
early times on even terms; that Beecher, Inger- 
soll, and Wendell Phillips had tongues as eloquent 
as Patrick Henry s; and that Abraham Lincoln, 
Samuel J. Tilden, and others who might be named 
were as sagacious in political affairs as was 

269 



i 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Thomas Jefferson. Changing conditions make ex 
act measurements impossible and random compari 
son unfair. There are embryo Washingtons and 
Jeffersons, Lincolns and Grants, in the villages of 
Virginia and the cities of the country awaiting de 
velopment as their services may be required by 
their fellow-men. There was never an emergency 
but some one arose to meet it, and Websters, 
Blaines, Grants, Bradleys, and Tildens are moving 
among the multitudes to-day, as many as man 
kind will ever need, unmindful of their power, 
unconscious of their destiny. Not long ago after 
a young lawyer from Chicago made his first ap 
pearance before the Supreme Court the Chief- 
Justice remarked : " If that argument had been 
delivered a century ago it would have given him 
a national reputation. To-day it will pass un 
noticed except by his clients and the court." As 
the world grows wider the stature of its leaders 
must enlarge. As the horizon extends the power 
of vision must increase. \There are men living 
to-day who, inspired by me same motives and 
guided by the Sdtne principles, might have ful 
filled the destiny of Jefferson as ably and success 
fully as he, but the ability, industry, and learning 
he possessed would command a foremost place 
in any race or generation. 

Conscious of his own moral, intellectual, and 
political power, impressed with the accuracy of 
his own convictions and the patriotism of his mo 
tives, Jefferson endeavored to assume leadership 
in whatever field of activity he found himself en 
gaged. His vivid individuality, self-reliance, and 
vast fund of information usually compelled sub 
mission, and when others would not yield he be 
came restless and discontented. He believed that 
his theories of government were so founded in 

270 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN. 

eternal truth that success and popularity must^ 
naturally attend him as their advocate and ex-j 
pounder. He was egotistical and confident be 
cause he had convinced himself that he was a 
genuine and successful benefactor of mankind, 
the teacher of a great gospel that, like the Sermon 
on the Mount, embodied all the science of govern 
ment and human morality. 

In the early days of his prominence in public 
affairs Jefferson was not a party man. " If I 
could not go to Heaven but with a party I would 
not go there at all," he said, and he accused the 
Federalists of trying to divide the people into 
factions; but soon afterwards became an intense 
partisan. He recognized the advantage of organi 
zation to promote political principles, and finally 
concluded that parties were not only necessary but 
beneficial in watching each other, provoking agi 
tation, discussion, and interest in public affairs. 

He conceived the plan, which Mr. Bryan at 
tempted a century later, of running party lines 
on what he called " a natural division between the 
aristocracy and the common people. Whatever 
occurs in any nation in the way of politics must 
be followed by such a division of interest," he 
said. " These divisions have existed in all coun 
tries by whatever name they might be called." 
" Men are divided into two parties by their con 
stitutions; . . . those who fear and distrust the 
people, and wish to draw all powers from them 
into the hands of a higher class, and second, those 
who identify themselves with the people, have con 
fidence in them, cherish and consider them as the 
most honest and safe although not the most wise 
depositary of the public interest." 

" In every free and deliberating society," said 
Jefferson while he was Vice-President, " there 1 

271 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

must from the nature of man be opposite parties 
and violent dissentions and discords, and one of 
these for the most part must prevail over the other 
for a longer or a shorter time. Perhaps this party 
division is necessary to induce each to watch and 
relate to the people the proceedings of the other. 
But, if on the temporary superiority of one party, 
the other is to resort to a scission of the union, 
no federal government can ever exist. 

" Seeing therefore that an association of men 
who will not quarrel with each other, is a thing 
which never yet existed, from the greatest con 
federacy of nations down to a town meeting or 
a vestry, seeing that we must have somebody to 
quarrel with, I had rather keep our New England 
associates for that purpose, than to see our bick 
erings transferred to others. They are circum 
scribed within such narrow limits and their popu 
lation is so full, that their numbers will ever be the 
minority, and they are marked like the Jews with 
such a peculiarity of character as to constitute 
from that circumstance the natural division of 
our party. A little patience and we shall see the 
reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolved 
and the people recovering their true sight, restore 
the government to its true principle." 

While he was Secretary of State these lines were 
drawn, much to the anxiety of Washington, who 
was a man of benevolent disposition, and foresaw 
danger to the republic in the partisanship that was 
being developed in the minds of those around 
him. It soon became intense, much more so than 
at any time since, and in 1797, the second year 
of his Vice-Presidency, we find Jefferson com 
plaining of the situation he had aided to create. 
He wrote Edward Rutledge : " You and I have 
seen warm debates and high political passions. 

272 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

But gentlemen of different politics would then 
speak to each other, and separate the business 
of the Senate from that of society. It is not so 
now. Men who have been intimate all their lives, 
cross the streets to avoid meeting, and turn their 
heads another way, lest they should be obliged 
to touch their hats. This may do for young men 
with whom passion is enjoyment, but it is afflict 
ing to peaceable minds." And to his daughter 
he said : " When I look to the ineffable pleasure 
of my family society, I become more and more 
disgusted with the jealousies, the hatred, and the 
rancorous and malignant passions of this scene, 
and lament my having ever again been drawn into 
public view. Tranquility is now my object. I 
have seen enough of political honors to know that 
they are but splendid torments." 

In his day there were no political committees, 
or clubs ; no primaries ; no caucuses ; no nomi 
nating conventions ; no campaign funds. Dis 
cussions were carried on in the weekly newspapers 
and by the publication of pamphlets, and in form 
ing a great political party Jefferson was furnished 
with a mass of fresh, pliant material that had never 
before been subjected to such influence as he ex 
ercised, and submitted readily to his purpose. 
There had been no permanent division of the peo 
ple on the line of political opinion. Washington 
had twice been unanimously elected to the Presi 
dency. His personal influence, which was greater 
than any other man ever exerted over a community, 
had determined the choice of his successor. But 
in that campaign public sentiment began to crys 
tallize upon questions of policy and administration ; 
the quarrels between Jefferson and Hamilton had 
become notorious and the partisans of each were 
increasing in number and earnestness. People were 
is 273 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

already participating in their disputes as to the 
proper form of government for the new republic; 
and it was natural for those who thought alike 
to seek a leader who could instruct and direct 
them. 

The Federalists formed the first party, the origi 
nal political organization in this country after the 
inauguration of the government, and were repre 
sented by Washington, Adams, Hamilton, and 
others who did not believe that the masses were fit 
for self-government. They held the offices and the 
authority, and when Jefferson retired from the 
Cabinet of Washington in 1793, it was natural that 
he, with his aggressive disposition, great learning, 
advanced ideas, profound convictions, wide expe 
rience, and personal popularity should assume lead 
ership, and by corresponding with friends and 
acquaintances throughout the country unite and 
organize those who were opposed to the monarchi 
cal tendencies of the aristocracy, the wealth, the 
commercial class, the clergy, and the conservative 
element of the population, for it was thus that 
the Democratic party of the United States came 
into existence. 

With an adroitness that marked all his political 
movements, Jefferson coined the captivating title 
" Republican" to designate his adherents. He 
soon discovered a better term, more appropriate 
to their principles, more pleasing to the class he 
desired to enlist under his banner; hence, after a 
time, he began to refer to them as Democratic- 
Republicans, and finally, as that title was too cum 
bersome, he dropped the original name and the 
hyphen, transformed the adjective into a noun, 
and henceforth they were Democrats, the advo 
cates and defenders of democracy, a government 
of the people. 

274 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

The movement had not acquired sufficient impe 
tus to be seriously felt in the Presidential cam 
paign of 1796, which, as has been said, was prac 
tically determined by the personal preference of 
Washington, although, had Jefferson s followers 
at that early day realized their own strength, he 
would have been the second President instead of 
John Adams. As it happened, Adams had a 
majority of only three votes in the electoral col 
lege, which might have been easily overcome in 
Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina, where 
the electors were chosen by popular vote without 
instructions or pledges. One elector in each of the 
three States took advantage of the liberty allowed 
him to cast his ballot for Adams instead of Jeffer 
son, who was entitled to it as the popular choice. 
We do not know what influences were exerted, 
what inducements were offered, or what penalties 
were suffered by the culprits, because the news 
papers of those days do not allude to the matter, 
and only incidental references appear in the corre 
spondence of public men. It is strange that Jeffer 
son, with his habit of keeping diaries and writing 
to his friends on all subjects of current interest, 
should have failed to leave posterity an explanation 
of this interesting incident. A possible but im 
probable reference to it appears in his diary more 
than a year later, December 26, 1797, where he 
records some gossip from a Mr. Langdon about 
President Adams, " who, gritting his teeth said 
Damn em ! Damn em ! Damn em ! you see that 
an elective government will not do. He also tells 
me that Mr. A in a late conversn said Republi 
canism must be disgraced, Sir. At any rate the 
election of 1796 was the last at which the electors 
were allowed the free exercise of their judgment. 
Since then they have been solemnly pledged to 

275 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

support the candidates of their party in the elec 
toral college. 

It surprised and disconcerted John Adams and rf 
the other Federalists to find Jefferson in the chair 
of the Vice-President instead of Charles Cofes- 
worth Pinckney, of South Carolina, who had been 
their candidate; for, previous to the amendment 
of the Constitution in 1803, the person receiving 
the second number of votes was entitled to the 
Vice-Presidency. 

The partisanship and other blunders of Adams s 
administration, and the odious legislation of the 
Federalists, who controlled both branches of Con 
gress, assisted Jefferson in the organization of a 
new political party to a degree beyond all he could 
have hoped or wished. His position as presiding 
officer in the Senate afforded him opportunities for 
observing the errors of his opponents and ample 
leisure to take advantage of them, so that when 
the time for electing a new President approached, 
the Republicans, as they were then called, were 
well organized, harmonious, enthusiastic, and con 
fident in all the States. The Federalists appear to 
have been ignorant or at least indifferent concern 
ing the activity of Jefferson and his followers, 
and Colonel Hamilton protested in vain against 
the policy of the President and his party in Con 
gress. The Federalists had never been defeated; 
they marched under the sacred aegis of Washing 
ton; their course was approved by the pulpit and 
the enlightened press; they enjoyed the sympathy 
of the college professors and the scholarship and 
culture of the country ; and received the encourage 
ment of the commercial interests. The Federalist 
was " the gentlemen s party." Jefferson s party 
/ was called the rabble, the mob. 

In New England a Democrat had no caste. 
276 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

Every speculator, scoffer, and atheist ; every thief, 
forger, and burglar, was a follower of Jefferson. 
John Adams represented the aristocracy, the re 
spectable conservatism what has often been de 
scribed as " the better sentiment" of New Eng 
land; narrow, bigoted, selfish, and egotistical, but 
at the same time intellectual, moral, enterprising, 
and patriotic, devoted to the love of country, kin, 
and a revealed religion. President Adams did not 
anticipate the possibility of his defeat for a second 
term, not even after Aaron Burr carried the State 
of New York for the Republican candidates and 
captured the Legislature in the May preceding 
the Presidential election. Why should John Adams 
fear the voice of his enemies when an act of Con 
gress authorized him to punish people who wrote 
or published anything discreditable to the Presi 
dent of the United States by fining them two 
thousand dollars and sending them to jail for two 
years ? Thislaw^Jntended for his protection, was 
one of th 

[n 1 798 "effersoneared that New England 
intended to secede from the Union and return to 
the allegiance of the king. " We are completely 
under the saddle of Massachusetts and Connecti 
cut," he wrote, " and they ride us very hard, cruelly 
insulting our feelings, as well as exhausting our 
strength and substance. Their natural friencfcs 
the three other eastern states join them from a 
sort of family pride, and they have the art to 
divide certain other parts of the union so as to 
make use of them to govern the whole. This 
is not new. It is the old practice of despots to 
use a part of the people to keep the rest in order, 
and those who have once got an ascendency and 
possessed themselves of all the resources of the 
nation, their revenues and offices, have immense 

277 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

means for retaining their advantages. But our 
present situation is not a natural one. The body 
of our countrymen is substantially republican 
through every part of the Union. It was the 
irresistable influence & popularity of Gen. Wash 
ington, played off by the cunning of Hamilton, 
which turned the government over to the anti- 
republican hands, or turned the republican mem 
bers, chosen by the people into antirepublicans. 
He delivered it over to his successor in this state, 
and very untoward events, since improved with 
great artifice, have produced on the public mind 
the impression we see; but still I repeat it, this 
is not the natural state. 

" If to rid ourselves of the present rule of 
Massachusetts & Connecticut we break the Union, 
will the evil stop there? Suppose the N. England 
states alone cut off, will our natures be changed? 
are we not men still to the south of that, & with 
all the passions of men? Immediately we shall 
see a Pennsylvania & Virginia party arise in the 
residuary confederacy, and the public mind will 
be distracted with the same party spirit. What 
a game, too, will the one party have in their hands 
by eternally threatening the other that unless they 
do so & so, they will join our northern neigh 
bors. If we reduce our Union to Virginia & N. 
Carolina, immediately the conflict will be estab 
lished between the representatives of these two 
States, and they will end by breaking into their 
simple units." 

The first National Convention to nominate a 
Presidential ticket was held at Baltimore in 1835. 
Until that year the candidates were selected by a 
caucus of Congressmen. Sometimes nominations 
were made by the Legislatures of the States. In 
1800 no caucus or convention was necessary be- 

278 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

cause the contestants and the issues were selected 
by the people, who realized that the time had come 
to determine the destiny of the new republic. Jef 
ferson s busy pen had framed the indictment upon 
which the Federalist government was to be tried, 
and he appeared as the attorney for the people to 
conduct the prosecution. John Adams, represent 
ing the aristocracy, the learning, the wealth of 
the country, who were responsible for the govern 
ment during the first fifteen years of its existence, 
was the defendant, and the population of sixteen 
States sat on the jury. 

The Congressional caucuses selected Aaron Burr 
and Charles C. Pinckney as candidates for Vice- 
Fresident on their respective tickets, but under the 
elective system of the day the person having the 
second largest number of votes was entitled to 
that office, regardless of his politics. A popular 
misunderstanding of this law produced a situation 
that was both dramatic and embarrassing. Adams, 
the Federalist candidate for President, was de 
feated, but Jefferson, and Burr, his candidate for 
Vice-President, received an equal number of votes. 
No one had named Colonel Burr for the Presi 
dency. No ballot had been intentionally cast for 
him as a candidate for that office. He had not 
even been an aspirant for the honor. He had 
been named for the Vice-Presidency at Jefferson s 
suggestion because of his brilliant victory over 
the New York Federalists in a State campaign; 
and the possibility of his coming before the elec 
toral college as a rival of his chief does not seem 
to have occurred to anybody until the startling 
fact appeared. Colonel Burr understood the situa 
tion and could have relieved it by a frank and 
manly acknowledgment, but preferred to take ad 
vantage of the accident and compete for the prize 

279 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

with his chief before Congress, which was then the 
electoral college as well as the legislative branch 
of the government. 

The Federalists and other enemies of Jefferson 
did not lose the opportunity to make mischief, and 
played with Burr s unholy ambition to the extent 
of their ability. It cannot be said that Colonel 
Burr was an active participant in the conspiracy 
to defeat the popular will, and it is undoubtedly 
true, as claimed by his defenders, that he refused 
to enter into a bargain with the Federalists to 
retain their friends in office as the price of their 
support. Jefferson himself gives Burr credit for 
resisting that temptation, but the latter remained 
silent and in seclusion a long distance from Wash 
ington and allowed himself to be used as a passive 
tool of the opposition to defeat the purpose of 
his own party. The dead-lock continued for seven 
days, until on the thirty-sixth ballot Jefferson re 
ceived the votes of ten States and Burr those of 
four. The votes of two States were blank. 

During the election in Congress Jefferson seems 
to have occupied his mind in the study of natural 
history and other sciences, for we find him writing 
to his friends upon such subjects as the bones 
of the mammoth, the effect of cold on human 
happiness, the influence of the moon upon the 
weather, the temperature of moonbeams, the na 
tivity of the turkey, the cause of circles around 
the moon, and the narrow range of the Indian 
vocabulary. 

That he was tempted by his opponents with 
offers of compromise we know, because five years 
later he notes that " while the Presidential election 
was in suspense in Congress . . coming out of 
the Senate chamber one day, I found Gouverneur 
Morris on the steps. He stopped me and began 

280 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

a conversation on the strange and portentous state 
of things then existing, and went on to observe 
that the reasons why a minority of States was 
so opposed to my being elected were that they 
apprehended that I would turn all Federalists 
out of office; 2 put down the navy; 3 wipe out 

the public debt; 4 [part of the page is torn 

out]. That I only need to declare or authorize 
my friends to declare that I would not take these 
steps, and instantly the election would be fixed." 

Jefferson told Morris that he would make no 
terms and " would never go into office of presi 
dent by capitulation nor with my hands tied by 
any conditions which should keep me from per- 
suing the measures which I should deem for the 
public good." 

About the same time, he says, a similar sugges 
tion was made to him by President Adams, to 
whom he replied that " the world must judge as 
to myself of the future by the past," and turned 
the conversation to another topic. Again, during 
the dead-lock, Dwight Foster, of Massachusetts, 
" called at my room one night, and went into a 
long conversation on the state of affairs, the drift 
of which was to let me understand that the fears 
above mentioned were the only obstacles to my 
election, to all of which I avoided giving any 
answer one way or the other." 

For months prior to the beginning of the nine 
teenth century the newspapers, both Federalist and 
Republican, had been engaged in heated discussions 
of the issues of the pending Presidential campaign ; 
yet so meagre were the facilities for the trans 
mission of news that the most enterprising paper 
in Philadelphia was not able to announce the offi 
cial result of the election until the morning of 
February 20, three days after it had been declared 

281 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

in Washington, and then only in two brief para 
graphs. Two days later the same brief announce 
ment was made in the New York papers. The 
following appeared in the Philadelphia Aurora of 
February 20, 1801 : 

" THOMAS JEFFERSON PRESIDENT, 

AND 

" AARON BURR VICE PRESIDENT. 

" BALTIMORE, February 17. An express from General 
Smith arrived in the city at three-quarters past seven this 
evening, announcing the election of Mr. Jefferson. I have 
seen the letter ; you may depend on the information to be 
correct. The cannon are now firing. I. WRIGHT." 

A second announcement in the Aurora contained 
a thrust at the defeated Federalists in the closing 
paragraph : 

"FROM WASHINGTON. 

" FEBRUARY 18, 1801. Yesterday, precisely at twelve 
o clock, the election of Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr 
was announced by the firing of the cannon in the arsenal 
by the artillery company commanded by Capt. Chaw. 

" Yesterday the bells at Christ church kept constantly 
tolling for the death of the British faction in this country. 
Requiescat in pace. Amen!" 

During the dead-lock in Congress Joseph Cooper 
Nicholson, of Maryland, was dangerously ill and 
attended by physicians, who feared that the ex 
posure and excitement might be fatal to him, but 
was carried to the Capitol. A bed was prepared 
for him in one of the anterooms, where his heroic 
wife attended him during five days and nights 
of balloting. Supported by stimulants, with great 
difficulty he feebly traced the name of Jefferson 
upon a slip of paper when the ballot-box was passed 
around. Nicholson survived and afterwards sat 
as presiding judge of the Baltimore Court of 
Appeals. Mrs. Nicholson was a sister of the wife 

282 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

of Francis Scott Key, author of the " Star-Span 
gled Banner." 

It was one of the strangest as well as one of 
the most dramatic incidents in history that Alex 
ander Hamilton should have been the chief instru 
ment to assist Jefferson in reaching the summit 
of his ambition, the Presidency of the United 
States. During the dead-lock Hamilton exercised 
his powerful authority over several Federalists in 
Congress, and finally persuaded two members 
from Maryland and one from Delaware (the 
grandfather of the late Secretary Bayard) to cast 
blank ballots and the member from Vermont to 
remain away. Thus Jefferson was elected " with 
out any change of votes," as he afterwards de 
clared with gratification. It was not because Ham 
ilton had more faith in Jefferson, but because he 
had less faith in Burr, for whom he had acquired 
a positive abhorrence. He knew that Jefferson 
was loyal. He felt that Burr was not, and future 
events demonstrated the sagacity of his judgment. 
It was Burr s resentment of Hamilton s inter 
vention in this contest that led him to seize upon 
a trivial pretext to force Hamilton into the duel 
which followed soon after. 

Jefferson observed the exciting contest in Con 
gress over the Presidency with composure, and 
from his conversation and correspondence one 
would suppose him to have been the most dis 
interested man in Washington. Indeed, there is 
very little in his manuscripts referring to this most 
critical crisis of his career. During the campaign 
preceding the Presidential election Jefferson with 
drew to Monticello and refused to take an active 
part in the canvass. " I cease from this time," 
he wrote John Taylor under date of November 
26, 1799, "to write political letters, knowing that 

283 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

a campaign of slander is now to open upon me, 
and believing that the postmasters will lend their 
inquisitorial aid to fish out any new matter of 
slandery they can to gratify the powers that be. 
I hope my friends will understand and approve 
the matter motives of my silence." While the 
excitement over the dead-lock was at its height, 
he wrote his son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph, 
as follows : " I do sincerely wish to be the second 
on that vote rather than the first. The considera 
tions which induce this preference are solid, 
whether viewed with relation to interest, happi 
ness or reputation. Ambition is long since dead 
in my mind, yet even a well weighed ambition 
would take the same side. My new threshing 
machine will be tried this week. P. Carr is on 
the point of marriage. All are well here and join 
in the hope of your continuing so." 

On February 12, 1801, the second day of the 
dead-lock, he writes in his diary: "Edward 
Livingston tells me that Bayard [Representative 
from Delaware] applied to-day or last night to 
Gen. Samuel Smith [Representative from Mary 
land] and represented to him the expediency of 
his coming over to the States who vote for 
Burr, that there was nothing in the way of ap 
pointments which he might not command, and 
particularly mentioned the Secretaryship of the 
Navy [to which office Smith s brother was after 
wards appointed by Jefferson]. Smith asked him 
if he was authorized to make the offer. He said 
he was authorized. Smith told this to Livingston 
and to W 9 . C. Nicolas [Representative from Vir 
ginia] who confirms it to me. Bayard in like 
manner tempted Livingston not by offering any 
particular office, but, by representing to him his 
L s intimacy and connection with Burr, that from 

284 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

him he had everything to expect, if he would come 
over to him. To Dr. Linn of N. Jersey they have 
offered the government of N. Jersey. See a para 
graph in Martin s Baltimore paper of February 
10 signed a looker on; stating an intimacy of 
views between Harper and Burr." 

There is no entry in the diary for February 13, 
but on February 14, about the middle of the con 
test, this appears : " Genl Armstrong tells me that 
Gouvernr Morris in conversation with him today 
on the scene which is passing expressed himself 
thus. How comes it, sais he, that Burr, who is 
400 miles off at Albany has agents here at work 
with great activity, while Mr. Jefferson, who is 
on the spot does nothing. This explains the am 
biguous conduct of himself and his nephew Lewis 
Morris, and that they are holding themselves free 
for a prize, i.e. some office, either for the uncle 
or nephew." 

Two days later, February 16: " See in the Wil 
mington Mirror of Feb 14 Mr. Bayard s elaborate 
argument to prove that the common law, as modi 
fied by the laws of the respective states at the epoch 
of the ratificn of the constn, attached to the courts 
of the U. S." 

Here the diary was dropped until March 8, 1801, 
four days after the inauguration, when Jefferson 
begins a continuous memoranda, mostly about 
office seekers. -^ 

To understand Jefferson s position as leader and 
teacher of the Democratic party, one must realize 
the bitter hostility to him and the distrust of the 
Federalists, and particularly the bankers, mer^ 
chants, and men of property throughout the new 
Union. The Federalist newspapers and orators 
had represented him as a monster whose appetite 
for blood had not been satiated during the French 

285 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Revolution, and they demanded the exercise of 
the authority of the government to prevent him 
from exciting the people to excesses similar to 
those committed by his friends and admirers in 
France. Even Fisher Ames, the most brilliant 
orator and one of the ablest and fairest Federal 
ists in all New England, told the people that Jeffer 
son belonged to the " sans culottes," and predicted 
that the democracy he advocated would be gov 
erned by vice and folly. Ames saw " the dismal 
glare of the burnings;" he heard "the clank of 
chains and the whispers of assassins," " the bar 
barous dissonance of mingled rage and triumph 
in the yell of an infuriated mob," and scented 
" the loathsome steam of human victims offered in 
sacrifice." His days, he said, were " heavy with the 
pressure of anxiety, and our nights restless with 
visions of horror." " What has happened in 
France," he declared, " must sooner or later hap 
pen in America if a democratic government was 
established, for this is ordained for democracy." 
And as a sample of the published opinions of the 
Federalist press we have a paragraph from Den- 
nie s Portfolio, which reads : " A democracy is 
scarcely tolerable at any period of national his 
tory. Its omens are always sinister, and its powers 
are unpropitious. It is on trial here [this was 
in 1803] and the issue will be civil war, deso 
lation and anarchy. No wise man but discerns 
its imperfections; no good man but shudders at 
its miseries; no honest man but proclaims its 
frauds; and no brave man but draws his sword 
against its force." 

Jefferson was a man of high ideals, and he was 
often embarrassed by the apparent inconsistency 
between his professions and his practices. When 
one first reads the confidential note-book which 

286 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

he called his " Anas" it is almost impossible to 
resist the inclination to question his integrity. 
These odious records of malicious gossip, accepted 
from all sorts of irresponsible sources, and set 
down as truth, show that he either had a craving 
for scandal or that his credulity was greater than 
his intelligence. With the training of a lawyer 
and a skilful analyst of the motives of men, he 
could not have believed his own statements, and 
must have foreseen that their publication, which 
he deliberately planned, would damage his own 
reputation even more than the men he slandered. 
One of his own biographers has said that " the 
writing of the Anas was one of the meanest acts 
recorded by history," and that " they impaired 
his own good name more than all the other mis 
takes of his life and all the assaults of his enemies." 
He proved the truth of the saying of a wise man 
that "It is not what others say of one, but what 
one says himself that does him the greater injury." 

The facts seem to be that with all his intellectual 
ability and learning, all his wit and penetration, 
all his subtle skill as a politician, all his experience 
and knowledge of men, all his pure and deep con 
victions of liberty and justice, Jefferson had a low 
opinion of mankind. He watched with mistrust 
all who differed from him; he suspected the hon 
esty of their motives and was ready to accept as 
true all the evil reports that came to him con 
cerning them. 

His belief in the sublime doctrine of civil and re 
ligious liberty was so deeply imbedded in his nature 
that he was always alert to detect and resist scepti 
cism in men who were not so enthusiastic as him 
self. His suspicious disposition saw a conspiracy in 
every conference of his political opponents, and 
the measures they proposed were plots against his 

287 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

cherished institutions. Their opposition to his 
plans was easily magnified into a conspiracy 
against the rights of the people for whose defence 
and protection he assumed responsibility, until he 
became a monomaniac upon the subject of mon 
archy, and even accused Washington of treason. 
There seems to be no doubt that his suspicions 
were sincere. His ceaseless reiteration of the trea 
sonable designs of the Federalists must have con 
vinced him of the accuracy of his own imagina 
tion, as many people come to believe a fiction they 
have themselves invented after repeating it a few 
times as a fact. Therefore, taking Jefferson s point 
of view, and considering his intense feeling upon 
subjects that interested him, one is led to contem 
plate his " Anas" and other questionable acts with 
greater charity. He may have been actuated by 
honorable motives and a zeal in the defence of 
his country that a century later seems excessive 
and unnecessary. 

His plans of government were acquired from 
the French revolutionists. He was a profound 
believer in the accuracy of the popular judgment. 
" It is rare that public sentiment decides immor 
ally and unwisely," said this sage, who had wit 
nessed the French Revolution, " and the indi 
vidual who differs from it ought to distrust and 
re-examine well his own opinions." His experi 
ences during the bloody and furious scenes in 
France do not seem to have disturbed this con 
fidence, but made him firmer in his faith. He 
advocated frequent debate, the discussion of 
public questions to arouse interest and educate 
the masses. " The force of public opinion can 
not be resisted when permitted to be freely ex 
pressed. The agitation it produces must be sub 
mitted to. It is necessary to keep the waters 

288 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 



pure." His egotism was surpassed only by his 
faith in the people. His confidence in them was 
only exceeded by his confidence in himself. The 
ancient fallacy that the voice of the people is the 
voice of God was the fundamental principle in his 
political creed, even if it were the clamor of a 
mob; and he was its authorized interpreter. To 
him the possession of power by others was wrong 
and its exercise tyranny, because they were not 
the friends of the people, but the possession and 
exercise of power by himself was right, because 
he was actuated by benevolence and considered 
only the welfare of his fellow-men. 
)l In a letter to Elbridge Gerry in the campaign 
(l which ended with his election to the Presidency 
he explained his political principles as follows : 

/ " I do then, with sincere zeal, wish an inviolable 
preservation of our Federal Constitution, according 
to the true sense in which it was adopted by the 
States. 

"\ am opposed to monarchizing its features. 
I am opposed to a president and a Senate for life. 
-2^" I am for preserving to the States the powers 
not yielded by them to the Union, and to the Legis 
lature of the Union its constitutional share of the 
division of powers. 

" I am not for transferring all the powers of 
the States to the General Government, and all those 
of that Government to the Executive branch. 

I am for a government rigorously frugal and 
imple, applying all the possible savings of the 
public revenue to the discharge of the national 
debt, and not for a multiplication of officers and 
salaries merely to make partisans. 

" I am not for increasing the public debt on the 
principle that it is a public blessing. 

" I am for relying for internal defence on our 



19 



289 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

militia solely, till actual invasion, and for such a 
naval force only as may protect our coasts and 
harbors from such depredations as we have ex 
perienced. 

" I am not for a standing army in time of peace, 
which may overawe public sentiment; nor for a 
navy which, by its own expenses and the eternal 
wars in which it will implicate us, will grind us 
with public burdens and sink us under them. 

" I am for free commerce with all nations ; po 
litical connections with none, and little or no diplo 
matic establishment. 

" I am not for linking ourselves by new treaties 
with the quarrels of Europe; entering that field 
of slaughter to preserve their balance or joining 
in the confederacy of kings to war against the 
principles of liberty. 

" I am for freedom of religion, and against all 
manouvres to bring about a legal ascendency of 
one sect over another; for freedom of the press, 
and against all violations of the Constitution, to 
silence by force and not by reason the complaints 
or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against 
the conduct of their agents. 

" And I am for encouraging the progress of 
science in all its branches and not for raising a 
hugh and cry against the sacred name of philoso 
phy; or for awing the human mind by stories 
of raw-head and bloody bones to the distrust of 
its own visions, and to impose implicitly on that 
of others to go backwards instead of forwards to 
look for improvement ; to believe that government, 
religion, morality, and every other science were 
in the highest perfection in the ages of the darkest 
ignorance, and that nothing can ever be devised 
more perfect than what was established by our 
forefathers. 

290 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

" To these I will add, that I was a sincere well- 
wisher to the success of the French Revolution, 
and still wish it may end in the establishment of 
a free and well-ordered republic; but I have not 
been insensible under the atrocious depredations 
they have committed on our commerce. 

" The first object of my heart is my country. 
In that is embarked my family, my fortunes and 
my own existence. I have not one farthing of 
interest, nor one fiber of attachment out of it, 
nor a single motive of preference of any one 
nation to another, but in proportion as they are 
more or less friendly to us. ... These are my 
principles." 

In his voluminous writings we can ascertain his 
opinions upon every conceivable subject that occu 
pied the attention of mankind during the period 
of his life.XNo public man was ever so free and 
so frank in declaring his views, although they were 
frequently modified with passing years and 
changing circumstances. He does not appear to 
have been afraid of the charge of inconsistency. 
He seemed to have felt the truth of the old adage 
that " A wise man often changes his mind, but a 
fool never." Hence it is that Jefferson is quoted 
upon different sides of so many subjects. 

For the convenience of those who seek wisdom 
in his teachings the letters and other writings of 
Jefferson have been compiled in various forms, 
including a massive encyclopaedia in which his 
views on a thousand different topics have been 
extracted from his letters and admirably arranged 
in alphabetical order like a dictionary. > The fol 
lowing are some of the most important of his 
political maxims, and most of them are as applic 
able to-day as they were a century ago: 

" All authority belongs to the people." 
291 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

" Republican is the only form of government 
which is not eternally at open or secret war with 
the rights of mankind." 

" I am for a government rigorously frugal and 
simple, applying all the possible savings of the 
public revenues to the discharge of the national 
debt." 

" Frequent elections keep Congress right. The 
legislative and the executive branches of the gov 
ernment may err, but frequent elections will set 
them right. A representative government respon 
sible at short periods of elections, produces the 
greatest sum of happiness to mankind." 

" Absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the 
majority is the vital principle of the republic, from 
which there is no appeal except through force, the 
vital principle and immediate parent of despot 
ism." First "Inaugural Address." 

He was opposed to continuous service in Con 
gress, and introduced a bill providing that " no per 
son who shall have served two years in Congress 
shall be capable of serving therein again until he 
shall have been out of the same one whole year." 
This was rejected. 

Although the great apostle of democracy and 
the doctrine of equality, Jefferson was in favor 
of restricted suffrage based upon educational and 
property qualifications. He commends the con 
stitution of Spain in this respect. " There is one 
provision which will immortalize its inventors. 
It is that which, after a certain epoch, disfranchises 
every citizen who can not read and write. This 
is new and is a fruitful germ of the improvement 
of everything good." In the constitution which 
he prepared for Virginia and which was not 
adopted because it came to the convention too late, 
he prescribed a property qualification for voters, 

292 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

one-fourth of an acre in towns or twenty-five acres 
of farming land. 

He was opposed to the appointment of aliens 
or foreigners in the consular service. " Native 
citizens," he said, " on several accounts are prefer 
able to aliens or citizens alien born. They possess 
our language and know our laws, customs and 
commerce, give better standing and are more to 
be relied upon." 

He advocated a uniform for consuls, and when 
Secretary of State allowed them to wear the uni 
form of the navy, " a deep blue coat with red 
facings, lining and cuffs, the cuffs slashed, and 
a standing collar; a red waistcoat, laced or not 
at the election of the wearer, and blue breeches; 
yellow buttons, a foul anchor, black cockade and 
small swords." 

Jefferson advocated a constitutional amendment 
for the election of the President by a direct vote 
of the people by States. " The ticket having a 
plurality of the votes of any State to be considered 
as receiving thereby the vote of the State, and the 
successful candidate to receive the votes of a ma 
jority of the States." 

He was much opposed to a third term for the 
Presidency, and advocated an amendment to the 
Constitution providing for only one term of seven 
years. 

Jefferson had a very exalted opinion of the 
veto power and the pardoning power as possessed 
by the President. He held that a court, believing 
a law to be constitutional, had a right to pass 
a sentence because the power was placed in its 
hands by the Constitution; but the executive, be 
lieving a law to be unconstitutional, was bound 
to prevent its execution because the power and 
responsibility had been confided to him by the 

293 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Constitution. That instrument, he said, in a letter 
dated September n, 1804, " meant that its coordi 
nate branches should be checks on each other, but 
the opinion which gives to the judges the right 
to decide what laws are constitutional, and what 
not, not only for themselves in their own sphere 
of action, but for the legislature and executive 
also in their spheres, would make the judiciary 
a despotic branch. ^ 

Jefferson differed from President Cleveland in 
his views of the relation between the President and 
the Senate. He agreed with President McKinley 
that members of Congress should be consulted 
in the distribution of patronage as the representa 
tives of the people, because of their better knowl 
edge of the men, local conditions and circum 
stances, and the requirements of the offices. He 
also took the ground that the President had the 
authority only to " propose" officers to the Senate, 
and the latter body, by confirming the nominations, 
not only had equal responsibility but the final exer 
cise of the appointing power. On the other hand, 
"the Senate," he said, in his opinion upon the 
powers of that body, " is not supposed by the con 
stitution to be acquainted with the concerns of the 
executive departments. It was not intended that 
these should be communicated to them." 

Jefferson defeated the plan of allowing members 
of the Cabinet to attend the sessions of the House 
and explain legislation. He said that it was an 
unlawful exercise of influence of the executive over 
the legislative branch of the government. 

He proposed as an article for the Virginia con 
stitution that "The legislative, executive and ju 
dicial offices shall be kept forever separate. iSFo 
person exercising the one shall be capable of ap 
pointment to the other, or to either of them." 

294 



j^~^~V 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

Jefferson was violent in his opposition to banks 
of all kinds. Washington called upon the members 
of his Cabinet for written opinions on the consti 
tutionality of a bill establishing a government 
bank. Those of Hamilton, the Secretary of the 
Treasury, and General Knox, the Secretary of 
War, were in favor of the act. Those of Jeffer 
son, the Secretary of State, and Randolph, the 
Attorney-General, were against it. Jefferson had 
written volumes on the subject of currency and 
finance, and in 1814 he said: "From the estab 
lishment of the United States Bank to this day 
I have preached against the system, and have been 
sensible that no cure could be hoped in the catas- , 
trophy now happening." To another he wrote: 
" I do not know whether you will recollect how 
loudly my voice was raised against the establish 
ment of banks from the beginning, but like that | 
of Cassandra it was not listened to. I was set j 
down as a madman by those who have since been 
victims to them. I little thought, however, I was 
to suffer by them myself." Originally he was 
opposed to the issue of paper money by the gov 
ernment. " Interdict forever," he said, " to both 
state and national government the power of es 
tablishing any bank proper," but later he advocated 
treasury notes bearing interest, as he believed they 
would soon be withdrawn from circulation " and 
locked up in private hoards, and would enable the 
common people to invest their savings." In 1815 
to Albert Gallatin he writes, " Put down the banks 
and if this country can not be carried through the 
longest war against the most powerful enemy, 
without ever knowing the want of a dollar, with 
out dependence on the traitorous classes of her 
citizens, without bearing hard on the resource of 
the people, or loading the public with an infamous 

295 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

burden of debt, I know nothing of my country 
men." He advocated the issue of Treasury notes 
" bottomed on a tax which would redeem them 
in ten years. This," he said, " would place at 
our disposal the whole circulating medium of the 
United States, and a fund of credit sufficient to 
carry us through anywhere." 

In a letter to his son-in-law, while the latter was 
in Congress, he wrote, " Specie is the most perfect 
medium because it will preserve its own level, 
having intrinsic and universal value, it can never 
die in our hands, and it is the surest resource of 
reliance in time of war." Again he said, " A great 
deal of small change is useful in estates, and 
tends to reduce the prices of small articles." He 
was also a bimetallist. In 1792 he wrote Alex 
ander Hamilton, " I concur with you in thinking 
that the union must stand on both metals." 

He believed in the distribution of wealth as much 
as possible. " If the overgrown wealth of an indi 
vidual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best 
corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all 
in equal degree; and the better, as this enforces 
a law of nature, while extra taxation violates it." 

Jefferson was in favor of State and opposed 
to federal bankruptcy laws. He considered a fed- 

Jl bankruptcy law unconstitutional. 
Regarding our foreign relations he said : " I 
KIIOW that it is a maxim with us, and I think it 
is a wise one, not to entangle ourselves with the 
affairs of Europe. I am for free commerce with 
all nations, political connections with none, and 
little or no diplomatic establishment." / 

In a letter to President Monroe he/said : " Our 
first and fundamental maxim should be never to 
entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe. Our 
second, never to suffer Europe to intermeddle with 

296 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

Cis-Atlantic affairs. America, North and South, 
has a set of interests distinct from those of Europe 
and peculiarly her own. She should therefore 
have a system of her own, separate and apart from 
that of Europe." 

He was an earnest advocate of a canal across 
the Isthmus and advocated it in many letters. 

" It is not the policy of the government in 
America to give aid to works of any kind. They 
let things take their natural course without help 
or impediment, which is generally the best pol- 
icy." 

Internal improvements was one of his hobbies. 
"I experience/ he said, " great satisfaction at 
seeing my country proceed to facilitate the inter 
communication of its several parts, by opening 
rivers, canals and roads. How much more ra 
tional is this disposal of public money than that 
of waging war." 

" I would propose a constitutional amendment 
for authority to apply the surplus taxes to objects 
of internal improvement." 

" The fondest wish of my heart ever was that 
the surplus portion of these taxes, destined for the 
payment of the revolutionary debt, should, when 
that object was accomplished, be continued by 
annual or biennial reenactment and applied, in 
times of peace, to the improvement of our country 
by canals, roads and useful institutions, literary 
or others." 

With regard to commercial intercourse with 
foreign nations Jefferson was theoretically a free 
trader. He said : " Perfect and universal free 
trade is one of the natural rights of man, and is 
the only sound policy." That was his first choice. 
His second was : " Free trade with any nation 
which will reciprocate." Circumstances growing 

297 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

out of the wars in Europe afterwards made him 
a moderate protectionist, but the underlying prin 
ciple in his mind was a broad commercial reci 
procity, laws and treaties, giving and getting 
commercial concessions wherever they were to our 
advantage, with retaliation in the form of increased 
duties and restrictions upon the products of na 
tions which were unfriendly or unjust. 

" Where a nation imposes high duties on our 
productions, or prohibits them altogether," he said, 
" it may be proper for us to do the same by them ; 
first burdening or excluding those productions 
which they bring here in competition with our 
own of the same kind; selecting next such manu 
factures as we take from them in the greatest 
quantity, and which at the same time we could 
the soonest furnish to ourselves or obtain from 
other countries; imposing on them duties lighter 
at first, but heavier and heavier afterwards as 
other channels of supply open. Such duties, having 
the effect of indirect encouragement to domestic 
manufactures of the same kind, may induce the 
manufacturer to come himself into the states, 
where cheaper subsistence, equal laws and a vent 
of his wares, free of duty, may insure him the 
highest profits from his skill and industry. And 
here it will be in the power of the state governments 
to cooperate essentially by opening the resources 
of encouragement which are under their control, 
extending them liberally to artists in those par 
ticular branches of manufacture for which their 
soil, climate, population and other circumstances 
have matured them, and fostering the previous 
efforts and progress of household manufacture by 
some patronage suited to the nature of its object, 
guided by the local information they possess, and 
guarded against abuse by their presence and at- 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

tentions. The oppressions on our agriculture, in 
foreign ports, will thus be made the occasion of 
relieving it from a dependence on the councils and 
conduct of others, and for promoting arts, manu 
factures and population at home." 

" Instead of embarrassing commerce under piles 
of regulating laws, duties and prohibitions, could 
it be relieved from all its shackles in all parts of 
the world, could every country be employed in pro 
ducing that which nature has best fitted it to pro 
duce, and each be free to exchange with others 
mutual surpluses for mutual wants, the greatest 
mass possible would then be produced of those 
things which contribute to human life and human 
happiness. Would even a single nation begin with 
the United States this system of commerce it 
would be advisable to begin with that nation." 

Jefferson s idea was to limit our commerce so 
far as possible to countries which did not produce 
what is produced in the United States, and have 
general reciprocity. 

In his message to Congress in 1808 President 
Jefferson accepted a protective tariff as a result 
of the " suspension of our foreign commerce pro 
duced by the injustice of the belligerent powers 
and the consequent losses and sacrifices of our citi 
zens." " The situation to which we have just 
been forced has impelled us to apply a portion of 
our industry and capital to internal manufactures 
and improvements. The extent of this conversion 
is daily increasing, and little doubt remains that 
the establishments formed and forming, will, under 
the auspices of cheaper materials and subsistence, 
the freedom of labors and taxations with us and 
of protecting duties and prohibitions, become per 
manent." 

He favored the taxation of luxuries. " The reve- 
299 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

nue on the consumption of foreign articles is paid 
cheerfully by those who can afford to add foreign 
luxuries to domestic comforts." " The taxes on 
imports fall exclusively on the rich." 

He was opposed to an excise law to tax every 
thing the people ate or drank. " The excise law 
is an infernal one," he writes to Madison. " The 
first error was to admit it by the Constitution." 

Jefferson advocated the taxation of exports, par 
ticularly rice, indigo, cotton, tobacco, and sugar. 

He advocated the abolition of all internal taxes 
on the theory that " Sound principles of economy 
will not justify the taxing of the industries of our 
people." 

He was opposed to a duty on books, which he 
said was a tax on intelligence. 

" Our interests will be to throw open the doors 
of commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, 
giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent 
of whatever they may choose to bring into our 
ports, and asking the same in theirs." 

" Could each country be free to exchange with 
others mutual surpluses for mutual wants, the 
greatest mass possible would then be produced 
of those things which contribute to human life, 
and human happiness; the numbers of mankind 
would be increased, and their condition bet 
tered." 

" An equilibrium of agriculture, manufactures 
and commerce is certainly essential to our inde 
pendence. Manufactures sufficient for our own 
consumption, of what we raise in raw material 
and no more. Commerce sufficient to carry the 
surplus produce of agriculture beyond our own 
consumption to a market for exchanging it for 
articles we can not raise (and no more). These 
are the true limits of manufactures and commerce. 

300 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

To go beyond them is to increase our dependence 
on foreign nations and our liability to war. These 
three important branches of human industry will 
then grow together and be really handmaids to 
each other." 

" My idea is that we should encourage home 
manufacturers to the extent of our own consump 
tion of everything of which we raise the raw 
materials." 

Until the purchase of the Louisiana Territory 
enlarged the national domain, Jefferson was against 
immigration. " If they [foreigners] come of 
themselves/ he said, " they are entitled to all the 
rights of citizenship, but I doubt the expediency 
of inviting them by extraordinary encourage 
ments." He was in favor of liberal naturalization. 
" Might not the general character and capability 
of a citizen be safely communicated to every one 
manifesting a bone fide purpose of embarking his 
life and fortunes permanently with us?" 

Jefferson was dissatisfied because there was no 
article in the new Constitution "providing clearly 
and without the aid of sophism, for the restriction 
of monopolies." 

" There is only one passage in President Mon 
roe s message which I disapprove," he wrote, " and 
which I trust will not be approved by our legis 
lature. It is that which proposes to subject the 
Indians to our laws without their consent. A 
little patience and a little money are so rapidly 
producing their voluntary removal across the Mis 
sissippi that I hope this immorality will not be 
permitted to stain our history." Jefferson s idea 
was " to intermix the Indians with the white peo 
ple, and let them become one people." " Incorpo 
rating them with us as citizens of the United 
States," he said ; " this is what the natural prog- 

301 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

ress of things will of course bring on, and it 
will be better to promote than to retard it." 

With regard to the public lands in the new 
Territory, he opposed their sale, particularly in 
large tracts, but advocated the policy of disposing 
of them by auction for not less than one dollar 
an acre and giving them in payment for military 
services rendered during the Revolutionary War. 
He also suggested that wealthy foreigners might 
be induced to establish colonies, and proposed to 
give one hundred acres of land for every colonist 
brought into the country. " A foreigner who brings 
a settler does more good than if he put into the 
Treasury five shillings or five pounds. That set 
tler will be worth to the public twenty times as 
much every year as on our old plan he would have 
paid in one payment." 

Jefferson was strongly in favor of a militia as 
a nursery for an army, and in his first annual 
message advocated " the organization of three 
hundred thousand able bodied men, between the 
ages of eighteen and twenty-six, for offense or 
defense at any time or at any place where they 
may be wanted." In a letter to Monroe he advo 
cated compulsory service. " We must train and 
classify the whole of our male citizens," he said, 
"and make military instruction a part of .colle 
giate education. We can never be safe until this 
is done." 

"The spirit of this country is totally adverse 
to a large military force." 

" When any one state in the American union 
refuses obedience to the Confederation to which 
they have bound themselves the rest have the 
natural right to compell it to obedience. Should 
this cause ever arise they will probably coerce by 
a naval force as being more easy, less dangerous 

302 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

to liberty, and less likely to produce much blood 
shed." 

" My plan would be to make the States one as 
to everything connected with foreign nations, and 
several as to everything purely domestic." 

Jefferson wanted an aristocracy in the United 
States " founded on education rather than wealth 
and ancestry." 

" I hope that the terms of Excellency/ Honor/ 
Worship/ Esquire will forever disappear from 
among us. I wish that of Mister to follow 
them." 

He advocated a law prohibiting speculation in 
stocks. 

" The manners of every nation are the standard 
of orthodoxy within itself. But the standard 
being arbitrary, reasonable people allow free tol 
eration for the manners as for the religion of 
others." 

One of Jefferson s peculiar doctrines, afterwards 
adopted by Henry George, was that one generation 
of men had no right to bind another, either in 
a collective or individual capacity. " No man, by 
natural right," he said in a letter to James Madison, 
"can oblige the persons who succeed him for the 
payment of debts contracted by him. What is 
true of every member of society individually is 
true of them collectively, since the rights of the 
whole can be no more than the sum of the rights 
of the individuals." As a generation of man 
kind is supposed to be measured by thirty-four 
years, Jefferson held that no government, and no 
individual, corporation, or association, "not even 
the whole nation itself assembled, can validly en 
gage debts beyond what they may pay in their own 
time, that is to say, within thirty four years of 
the date of the engagement, or by a different esti- 

33 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

mate of life in nineteen years." " The principle of 
spending money to be paid by posterity under the 
name of funding," he said, " is but swindling fu 
turity on a large scale." 

He said in a letter to Madison : " No society 
can make a perpetual constitution or a perpetual 
law. The earth belongs to the living generation; 
they may manage it then and what proceeds from 
it as they please during their usufruct. They are 
masters of their persons and consequently may 
govern them as they please. But persons and 
property make the sum of the objects of govern 
ment. The constitution and the laws of their 
predecessors are extinguished in their natural 
course with those that gave them being. Every 
constitution then, and every law naturally expires 
at the end of thirty four years. If it be enforced 
longer it is an act of force and not of right." 

He considered the alien and sedition laws un 
constitutional. " I discharged every person under 
punishment or prosecution under the sedition law," 
he said in a letter to John Adams in 1804, "be 
cause I considered and now consider that law to 
be a nullity as absolute and as palpable as if Con 
gress had ordered us to fall down and worship a 
golden image." 

Referring to the practice of lynching, he said, 
" It is more dangerous that even a guilty person 
should be punished without the forms of law, 
than that he should escape." 

Referring to the Burr case, he said : " On great 
occasions every good officer must be ready to risk 
himself in going beyond the strict line of the law 
when the public preservation requires it. His mo 
tive will be a justification as far as there is any 
discretion in his ultra legal proceedings, and no 
indulgence of private feelings." 

304 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

"Do not be too severe upon the errors of the 
people by enlightening them. Ignorance is prefer 
able to error, and he is less remote from the truth 
who believes in nothing, than he who believes in 
what is wrong." 

He was a determined opponent of centralization. 
" To take from the States all the powers of self 
government and transfer them to the general and 
consolidated government without regard to the 
special delegations and reservations solemnly 
agreed to in the compact, is not for the peace, 
happiness or prosperity of these states." 

"I wish to see maintained the wholesome dis 
tribution of power established by the constitu 
tion." 

" What has destroyed the liberty and the rights 
of man in every government which has ever existed 
under the sun? The generalizing and concen 
trating all cares and powers into one body." 

" It is not by the consolidation or concentration 
of powers, but by their distribution that good gov 
ernment is effected." 

He urges specific appropriations of money by 
Congress as fastening responsibility upon the ex 
ecutive who was entrusted with its expenditure. 
For Congress to make general appropriations was 
a violation of that section of the Constitution 
which provides that no money shall be withdrawn 
from the Treasury except in consequence of appro 
priations made by law. 

Like the leaders of the Populist party at the 
present day, Jefferson was opposed to a permanent 
judiciary, as he believed the responsibility of 
judges would be increased if they were elected 
for four or six years, and this would keep them 
in touch with the opinions of the people. His 
opponents replied that such a policy would sub- 
*> 305 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

ject the courts to the most dangerous and mis 
chievous of all the great variety of influences 
which could assail them, popular caprice and pop 
ular passion, and render them liable to be called 
to account by mobs for any decision that might 
happen to be obnoxious. 

While President, in 1806, he received a bronze 
bust of the Emperor Alexander of Russia, which 
still stands in the hall at Monticello, opposite that 
of Napoleon. It came through a Mr. Harris, to 
whom he promptly wrote the following explana 
tion of his views on the subject of gifts : " I had 
laid down as a law for my conduct in office, and 
hitherto scrupulously observed, to accept of no 
present beyond a book, a pamphlet or other curi 
osity of minor value; but my particular esteem 
for the character of the Emperor places his image 
in my mind above the scope of the law. I receive 
it therefore and shall cherish it with affection." 

This gift was the occasion of the interchange 
of pleasant complimentary letters between the 
President of the United States and the Czar. 

Jefferson was the first great expounder of the 
doctrine of State-rights. He was the author of 
the Kentucky resolutions, which proclaimed the 
nullification policy for the first time in a formal 
manner, but when, as Mr. Cleveland said, a con 
dition instead of a theory confronted him, he fol 
lowed the impulse of common sense instead of 
adhering to political consistency. In defending 
his course he said: "The legislature, in casting 
behind them metaphysical subtleties, and risking 
themselves like faithful servants, must ratify and 
pay for it, and throw themselves on their country 
for doing unauthorized what we know they would 
do for themselves had they been in a situation 
to do it." 

306 



JEFFERSON AS A POLITICIAN 

He was opposed to imprisonment for debt. 
" Neither nature, right or reason subjects the body 
of men to restraint for debt." 

He believed in extradition. " Two neighboring 
and free governments with laws equally mild and 
just, would find no difficulty in forming a con 
vention for the interchange of fugitive criminals," 
he said. " The difference between a free govern 
ment and a despotic one is indeed great." 

He was opposed to all decorations, medals, and 
other " baubles." He objected to the organization 
of the Society of Cincinnati, which was composed 
of the officers of the Revolution, and said: "Let 
them melt up their eagles, and add the mass to 
the distributable fund that their descendants may 
have no temptation to hang them in their button 
holes." 



XI 

JEFFERSON S MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

JEFFERSON was accused of being an atheist when 
he was a Unitarian, but, in the state of civilization 
prevailing in Virginia at that time, one term was 
quite as odious as the other, and if the law had 
been enforced against him, he would have been 
deprived of the custody of his children, publicly 
whipped every day until he acknowledged the 
Trinity, and imprisoned until he asked forgiveness 
of the church for denying that doctrine. When 
the news of his election as President reached Mas 
sachusetts, we are told that some old ladies in 
pious consternation hid their Bibles in butter- 
coolers and lowered them into their wells. 

Jefferson was a member of the Episcopal church 
at Charlottesville, which still stands and is at 
tended by some of his descendants. The little 
congregation first worshipped in the court-house, 
and he was to be seen there every Sabbath morn 
ing, bringing with him a folding chair of his own 
invention, which was more comfortable than those 
provided for the congregation. When the people 
of the parish felt rich enough to build a church 
he drew the plans with great care, and superin 
tended its construction. He was elected vestryman 
soon after he became of age, -and although he 
could not take the oath, he never failed to per 
form the duties while he was at Monticello. He 
freely gave of his time, money, and ability to 
promote the religious objects of his neighbors. 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

He contributed liberally towards the erection of 
churches in other parts of Virginia, and indig 
nantly denied that he was an atheist. In many 
letters, public addresses, and official documents he 
not only admits the existence of a God, but his 
belief in an overruling Providence, and, as his 
mind matured, his religion reduced itself to two 
articles, a belief in God as a supreme and om 
nipotent being, and veneration for the character 
and teachings of Jesus Christ. "An atheist I 
can never be," he wrote John Adams; "I am a 
Christian, in the only sense Christ wished any one 
to be, sincerely attached to his doctrines in pref 
erence to all others." While to another he wrote : 
" Had the doctrines of Jesus been always preached 
as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civil 
ized world would now have been christened. Had 
there never been a commentator there never would 
have been an infidel." And again, in a letter to 
Samuel Greenhow, written four years after he 
retired from the Presidency, he says, " There was 
never a more pure and sublime system of morality 
delivered to man than is to be found in the four 
evangelists." 

Jefferson s frequent denunciation of the clergy 
was in the nature of retaliation, for the most bitter, 
exasperating, and unjustifiable attacks and slanders 
that were published concerning his private char 
acter came from ministers of the gospel. " From 
the clergy," he said, "I expect no mercy. They 
crucified their Saviour. The laws of the present 
day withhold their hands from blood, but lies 
and slander still remain to them." Again he says : 
" Ministers and merchants love nobody. In every 
country and in every age the priest has been hos 
tile to liberty." 

These bitter reflections were provoked by the 
309 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

publication in pamphlet form for campaign pur 
poses of a sermon preached by a prominent clergy 
man of Connecticut, who accused Jefferson of 
gross immorality and dishonesty. He was charged 
with debauching his slave women, swindling 
widows and orphans, and embezzling trust-funds. 
Jefferson wrote to a friend in that State, deny 
ing the embezzlement story, and explaining that 
he never had charge of any trust-funds. Aside 
from a general contradiction he paid no attention 
to the other charges, which was according to his 
custom, and it is said that this was the only time 
he ever took public notice of an attack upon his 
morals. 

He was equally severe in his denunciation of 
newspapers for reasons similar to those which pro 
voked President Cleveland to make a sweeping de 
nunciation of the press, a sense of personal in 
jury and resentment for their attacks upon his 
private character. Although free speech, free 
thought, and a free press were among the funda 
mental principles of his political creed, he became 
so exasperated at one time that he advocated the 
appointment of government censors, and in a letter 
to President Washington said : " No government 
ought to be without censors, and where the press 
is free no one ever will." In a letter to a friend 
he said spitefully, " There is nothing true in the 
newspapers except the advertisements/ and again : 
" The man who never looked into a newspaper is 
better informed than he who reads them. He 
who reads nothing will get all the great facts, 
and the details are all false." In 1815, after his 
retirement from the Presidency, he writes : " I 
have almost ceased to read the newspapers. Mine 
often remain in the post office a week or ten days, 
and are sometimes unasked for. I find more 

310 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

amusement in the study to which I was always 
attached, and from which I was dragged by the 
events of the times in which I happened to have 
lived." 

The chief offender among newspapers was the 
Richmond Recorder, edited by a Scotchman named 
Callender, who sought an asylum in this country 
to escape punishment for libels published in Eng 
land. He was not here long before he was ar 
rested and imprisoned under the sedition act and 
was one of those whom Jefferson pardoned on 
the day that he became President. This incident 
brought him personally to Jefferson s acquaintance, 
and for a time he proved to be useful to the Demo 
cratic leaders as a writer. Jefferson defended and 
shielded him as long as his patience would per 
mit, and aided him from time to time with loans 
of money that were never repaid, but was finally 
compelled to repudiate him, when Callender turned 
upon his benefactor. It was he who discovered 
Hamilton s relations with Mrs. Reynolds, and 
published the story with Jefferson s approval. He 
afterwards blackmailed Hamilton with evidence 
he had secured in a dishonest manner. He was 
the author of several miserable scandals about 
Washington. He attempted to blackmail Jeffer 
son into making him postmaster at Richmond, 
but Jefferson had the moral courage to refuse, 
even though he knew what to expect, and the 
penalty of his refusal was the publication of a 
series of the most revolting stories about his pri 
vate life, which were copied by the Federalist 
newspapers of the Northern States with what 
President Cleveland called " ghoulish glee." Some 
of these stories were based upon local gossip at 
Charlottesville, and doubtless had a slender vein 
of truth, a meagre excuse for existence, but Cal- 

3" 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

lender s vulgar and malicious mind magnified and 
distorted them. Jefferson never stooped to a denial, 
and his political opponents chose to interpret his 
silence as an admission of guilt. He was probably 
no more immoral than Franklin, Washington, 
Hamilton, and other men of his time. He was 
neither a St. Anthony nor a Don Juan. Judged 
by the standard of his generation, his vices were 
those of a gentleman, and such as did not de 
prive him of the respect and confidence of the 
community. 

The scandals circulated by the Federalist news 
papers were so generally believed that Thomas 
Moore, the famous Irish poet, accepted them as 
true, and, visiting the United States during the 
period of Jefferson s Presidency, wrote some verses 
of which the following is a sample : 

"The patriot, fresh from Freedom s councils come, 
Now pleas d, retires to lash his slaves at home ; 
Or woo. perhaps, some black Aspasia s charms 
And dream of Freedom in his bondmaid s arms." 

This poem may be found in the London edition 
of the " Poetical Works of Thomas Moore," pub 
lished in 1853, and is embellished by a foot-note 
explaining that the President of the United States 
was referred to. 

The local traditions attribute to Jefferson the 
paternity of a distinguished man of the generation 
following him who was prominently identified in 
the development of the West, and whose mother, 
famous for her beauty and attractions, lived near 
Monticello. Her husband was a dissolute wretch 
and abandoned her to the protection of friends. 
Jefferson looked after her interests, advised her 
concerning the management of her little property, 
educated her son, appointed him to office, pushed 
him into political prominence, furnished him op- 

312 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

portunities for advancement, and showed an affec 
tionate solicitude for his welfare. It is charitable 
to suppose that this was due to a friendly rather 
than a paternal interest. 

In early days, and up to a recent period, nearly 
every mulatto by the name of Jefferson in Albe- 
marle County, and they were numerous, claimed 
descent from the Sage of Monticello, which grati 
fied their pride but seriously damaged his reputa 
tion. Jefferson does not appear to have taken 
notice of these scandals, except in a single in 
stance. During the campaign of 1804 a respectable 
mulatto living in Ohio, named Madison Henings, 
boasted that he was a son of the President and 
Sally Henings, who was one of his slaves, and 
Jefferson invoked his carefully kept record of vital 
statistics at Monticello to prove an alibi. The date 
of Madison Hening s birth made it impossible 
for Jefferson to have been his father, and Ed 
ward Bacon, the overseer of the plantation, made 
a statement to a clergyman in which he gave 
circumstantial evidence to prove Jefferson s inno 
cence. ^ 

Jefferson wrote as many proverbs as Solomon^ 
but was quite as careless in observing them. He 
loved to admonish others, but did not care to be 
restrained by his own rules. Proverbs are short 
descriptions of long experience, and it is easier 
to instruct by precept than by example. He wrote 
in his youth what he called " A Decalogue of 
Canons for Observation in Practical Life," which 
are admirable, and applicable to everybody in all 
generations : 

" i. Never put off till to-morrow what you can 
do to-day. 

"2. Never trouble another for what you can 
do yourself. 

313 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

"3. Never spend your money before you have 
it. 

"4. Never buy what you don t want because 
it is cheap; it will be dear to you. 

" 5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst or 
cold. 

" 6. We never repent of having eaten too little. 

" 7. Nothing is troublesome that we do will 
ingly. 

" 8. How much pain have cost us the evils which 
have never happened. 

" 9. Take things always by the smooth han 
dle. 

" 10. When angry, count ten before you speak; 
if very angry, then a hundred." 

While he was Secretary of State he prepared a 
series of maxims for the edification of his little 
grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, as fol 
lows : 

" Good humor is one of the preservatives of our 
peace and tranquility. 

" Politeness is artificial good humor ; it covers 
the natural want of it, and hence, rendering habit 
ual a substitute nearly equivalent to real virtue. 

" Never enter into a dispute or an argument 
with another. I never yet saw an instance of one 
of two disputants convincing the other by argu 
ment. 

" It was one of the rules, which above all others 
made Dr. Franklin the most amiable of men in 
society, never to contradict anybody. 

" Good humor and politeness never introduce 
into society a question on which they foresee there 
will be a difference of opinion. 

" Be a listener only and endeavor to establish 
with yourself the habit of silence, specially in 
politics. 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

" No good can ever result from any attempt 
to set one of those fiery zealots to rights, either 
in fact or principle." 

"If you ever find yourself, environed with diffi 
cult and perplexing circumstances," he once wrote 
his daughter, " out of which you are at a loss to 
extricate yourself, do what is right, and be as 
sured that that will extricate you the best out of 
the worst situation, for you cannot see when you 
take one step what the next will be. Follow truth, 
justice and plain dealing, and never fear that they 
will not lead you out of the labyrinth in the easiest 
manner possible. In little disputes with your com 
panions give way rather than insist on trifles, for 
their love and approbation will be worth more to 
you than the trifle in dispute." 

The following are other examples of Jefferson s 
maxims : 

" I never considered a difference of opinion in 
politics, in religion or in philosophy as a cause for 
withdrawing from a friend." 

" Wealth, title and office are no recommendation 
to my friendship. On the contrary, great good 
qualities are requisite to make amends for their 
having wealth, title and office." 

Jefferson s philosophy taught him that " when 
great evils happen I am in the habit of looking 
out for what good may arise from them as con 
solation, for Providence has in fact so established 
the order of things as that most evils are the mgans 
of producing some good." 

"The Creator has not thought proper to mark 

those in the forehead who are of stuff to make 

r good generals. We are first, therefore, to seek 

rthem blindfolded, and let them learn the trade at 

the expense of great losses." 

" We can not tell by his plumage whether a cock 
315 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

is dunghill or game. But with us cowardice and 
courage wear the same plume." 

" There are minds which can be pleased by 
honors and preferments, but I see nothing in them 
but envy and enmity. It is only necessary to 
possess them to know how little they contribute 
to happiness, or how hostile they are to it." And 
in a letter to his daughter he said : " I have seen 
enough of political honors to know that they are 
but splendid torment." 

" The best way to place your guests at their 
ease is by showing them that we are so ourselves, 
and that we follow our necessary vocations, instead 
of fatiguing them by hanging unremittingly on 
their shoulders." 

Jefferson s opinion of European royalty was ex 
pressed in a letter to General Washington, in which 
he said, " I can say with perfect safety that there 
is not a crowned head in Europe whose talents 
or merits would entitle him to be elected a vestry 
man by the people of any parish in America." 

His overseer, Edward Bacon, in dictating his 
recollections of Jefferson to a clergyman said : 
" He did not use tobacco in any form. He never 
used a profane word or anything like it. He 
never played cards. I never saw a card in the 
house at Monticello, and I had particular orders 
from him to suppress card playing among the ne 
groes, who, you know, are very fond of it." Mrs. 
Randolph, in memoranda prepared for her father s 
biographer, gave similar testimony, which has been 
accepted and copied by nearly every writer of Jef- 
fersoniana ; and Jefferson himself said, " Gambling 
corrupts all dispositions and creates a habit of 
hostility against all mankind." Nevertheless, his 
account-books contain frequent entries of money 
won or lost in games of chance; but they were 

316 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

small amounts, never more than a few shillings, 
which were always carefully noted like this: 

" Lost at Backgammon 7/6 

Won at Cards 7/ 

Won at Backgammon 7d. 

Won at Cross and Pyle 3/ 

Lost at Lotto i8/ 

Mrs. Jefferson lost at cards 1/3" 

Although he was a breeder of fine horses and 
a famous equestrian, Jefferson never allowed any 
of them on the turf. Nor did he ever attend a 
race, so Bacon and his daughter testify, or patron 
ize or encourage horse-racing in any way, although 
at that date it was one of the universal amusements 
of the Virginia gentleman. This is said to have 
been quite as much from an indifference to sport 
as from principle. He was a liberal patron of the 
theatre and attended every musical entertainment 
that came within his convenience. 

He rarely missed a show of any kind. It has 
been said that " his curiosity was in quantity as a 
child s, in quality as a philosopher s." His diary 
abounds in entries like these : 

" 1791 Dec 20 pd for seeing a lion 21 months old 11, % a 
" 1792 June i pd seeing a small seal .125 
" 1797 March 10 pd seeing elephant .5 d 

13 pd seeing elk .75 d 
" 1798 Jan 25 pd seeing Caleb Phillips a dwarf. 25 d 

(Note he weighs Ib now and when 
born he weighed with the clothes in 
which he was swaddled 31 Ib, he is 
years old. 

" April 10 1800 pd seeing a painting .25 d" 

During the most critical period of his adminis 
tration of the foreign policy of the government 
he paid six pence to see an alligator and a shilling 
to see a learned pig. This might be accounted for 

317 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

by his well-known love of natural history had 
he not attended a balloon ascension at the same 
time at the enormous expense of fifteen shillings, 
and paid one shilling to see " a wax figure of the 
King of Prussia," and two shillings to witness a 
puppet show. Nor did Jefferson have the ordinary 
excuse that some grown-up people consider neces 
sary to justify gratifying curiosity in such a man 
ner, for his children and grandchildren were at 
Monticello. 

He was a man of temperate habits, but spent 
a great deal of money for wine. His daughter 
testifies that " he never drank ardent spirits or 
strong wines. Such was his aversion, that when in 
his last illness his physician desired him to use 
brandy as an astringent, he could not be induced 
to take it strong enough." Bacon gives similar 
testimony. Jefferson himself says : "Of all the 
great calamities, intemperance is the greatest. The 
drunkard as much as the maniac requires restrictive 
measures to save him from the fatal infatuation 
under which he is destroying his health, his morals, 
his family and his usefulness to society." Again 
he refers to " The loathsome and fatal effects of 
whisky, destroying the fortunes, the bodies, the 
minds and the morals of our people." 

At the same time Jefferson was an advocate of 
the use of wine as a matter of health and prin 
ciple. " I rejoice as a moralist," he says, " at the 
prospect of a reduction of the duties on wine by 
our national legislature. It is an error to view 
a tax on that liquor as merely a tax on the rich. 
It is a prohibition of its use among the middle 
classes of our citizens, and a condemnation of 
them to the poison of whisky, which is desolating 
their homes. No nation is drunken where wine 
is cheap; and none sober where the dearness of 

318 






MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

wine substitutes ardent whisky or spirits as the 
common beverage. It is in truth, the only antidote 
to the bane of whisky." 

Jefferson imported large quantities of wine, and 
kept a record of every bottle bought and every 
bottle consumed, which he explained was " to try 
the fidelity of Martin," evidently the servant in 
charge of his cellar. From his account-book we 
know that during his first year in the White House 
he spent $2,262.33 for wines and during his last 
year only $75.88. During his first year his grocer 
ies cost him $2,003.71 ; during his last year 
$258.00. This may be explained by the circum 
stance that he was in the habit of importing large 
quantities of dainties for which he had acquired 
a taste during his residence at the French capital, 
and also because of his increasing anxiety con 
cerning his debts. From the account-book owned 
by the late Samuel J. Tilden we are able to learn 
exactly how much Jefferson expended for his en 
tertainments at the White House and for his other 
personal expenses. It appears that his wines cost 
him the following sums in the years named, ac 
cording to his own calculations : 



"$2,622.33 in 1801 

1,975-72 in 1802 

1,253.57 in 1803 

2,668.94 in 1804 

546.41 in 1805 

659.38 in 1806 

553.97 in 1807 

75.58 in 1808 



"Total $10,855.90 
"Average per year, y 8 th 1,356.98" 

His Madeira seems to have occupied a larger 
share of his thoughts than any other of his wines. 

319 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 



We have a table of the duration of each pipe of 
Madeira up to 1804. 



MADEIRA. 



No. 


Rec d. 


broached. 


finished. 


lasted. 


I 


1801 May 3 


oi May 15 


oi Nov. 3 


Excluding ab 










sence 3^ 










months 


2 

3 


1801 June 12 
do 


Nov 3 
02 June 6 


02 June 6 
03 April 10 


6 months 
7 months 


4 


" Sept 28 


03 April 10 


04 May 28 


10 months 


5 


do 


04 May 28 


05 May 15 sent 










remain. 76 










gall to Mon- 










ticello 




6 


1803 Mar 3 


05 May 15 


06 June 


lomo 17 d 


8 


" do 
1804 Mar 19 


06 July 
07 Nov 25 


07 Nov. 25 


10 " I 9 " 



The two hundred bottles of champagne which 
appear to have been received from M. D Yrujo, 
" 100 December n, 1802, and 100 January 10, 
1803," gave occasion for the following letter from 
the President to the collector at Philadelphia : 

"DEAR SIR, Mons. d Yrujo the Spanish Minister here 
has been so kind as to spare me two hundred bottles of 
champagne part of a large parcel imported for his own use 
and consequently privileged from duty ; but it would be 
improper for me to take the benefit of that. I must therefore 
ask the favor of you to take the proper measures for paying 
the duty, for which purpose I enclose you a bank-check for 
twenty two and a half dollars, the amount of it. If it could 
be done without mentioning my name, it would avoid ill- 
intended observation, as in some such way as this, By duty 
paid, on a part of such a parcel of wines not entitled to 
privilege, or in any other way you please. The wine was 
imported into Philadelphia about mid summer last. Accept 
assurance of my great esteem and respect, 

" TH. JEFFERSON. 

" GENERAL MUHLENBERG." 

During the later years of his life he wrote a 
friend : " I have lived temperately, eating little 

320 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

animal food and that not as an aliment so much 
as a condiment for the vegetables which consti 
tute my principal diet. I double, however, the 
Doctor s glass and a half of wine, and even treble 
it with a friend; but half its effects by drinking 
weak wines only. The ardent wines I can not 
drink, nor do I use ardent spirits in any form. 
Malt liquors and cider are my table drinks, and 
my breakfast, like that also of my friend, is of 
tea and coffee." 

In his financial transactions Jefferson was 
scrupulously honest, and the manner in which he 
settled the debts of his father-in-law, Wayles, is 
an example to conscientious men. After his death 
there was found among his papers a letter from 
Littleton W. Tazewell, at one time Governor of 
Virginia and afterwards a member of the United 
States Senate from that State, who wrote in the 
interest of a Mr. Welch, who seems to have been 
one of the heaviest creditors of Mr. Wayles : " I 
have no occasion to say to you any thing more 
relative to the payments of the several installments 
of Mr. Wayles s debt due to Mr. Welch s house. 
Your conduct as to this affair has been such as I 
expected, & for his sake I could wish the other 
creditors could feel the same sentiments which 
have actuated you. For myself, I have to repeat 
that whenever your convenience will permit, with 
out injury, the payment will be expected. Until 
then it ought not to be asked, & when this period 
shall arrive, to you I know a request will not be 
necessary." 

This letter is difficult to explain, as Wayles is 
supposed to have been a man of large means, and 
Mrs. Jefferson inherited a considerable amount of 
property from him, as related in another chapter. 
Nevertheless, in 1800, twenty-seven years after 
21 321 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

the death of his wife s father, Jefferson seems to 
have been still paying off the latter s indebtedness 
by instalments, for when his own son-in-law wrote 
him for money he replies : " I sincerely wish I 
were able to aid you in the embarrassments you 
speak of. But tho I have been wiping out Mr. 
Wayles old scores it has been impossible to me 
to avoid some new ones. The profits of my Bed 
ford estate have gone for this purpose, and the 
unprofitable state of Albemarle has kept me in a 
constant struggle. There is a possible sale which 
might enable me to aid you, and nothing could 
be so pleasing to me." 

In January, 1801, during the heat of the Presi 
dential contest with Burr, he learned that a con 
tract he had made with a Mr. Craven in Monti- 
cello had not been carried out. His letters do 
not explain how it happened, but he appears to 
have trusted " Perry s people," and it gave him 
great concern. He blames nobody, and says to 
his son-in-law : " The question now, however, is 
as to the remedy. You have done exactly what I 
would have wished, and as I place the compliance 
with my contract with Mr. Craven before any 
other object, we must take every person from the 
nailery able to cut and keep them at it till the 
clearing is completed." 

Jefferson believed that the stories of his atheism 
and immorality could be directly traced to the 
ministers and the aristocracy of Virginia, and 
were intended as retribution for the conspicuous 
part he had taken in the separation of church 
and state and in the repeal of the laws of primo 
geniture, which abolished caste among his neigh 
bors. The statute for religious liberty in Vir 
ginia, which he wrote and forced through the 
Legislature, was copied in nearly every other 

322 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

State, and vehemently opposed by the clergy and 
laymen of wealth and influence. It was not until 
1834 that the divorce between church and state 
was complete and universal in this country. 

" I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal 
hostility against every form of tyranny over the 
mind of man," said Jefferson. " I have ever 
thought religion a concern purely between our 
maker and our conscience, for which we are ac 
countable to Him, and not to the priest. I never 
tell my religion, nor scrutinize that of another. 
I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished 
to change another s creed. I have ever judged 
of the religion of others by their lives, for it is 
in our lives and not from our words, that our 
religion must be read." 

Jefferson was, moreover, a man of deep religious 
sentiment. This is shown by abundant evidence 
in his writings and by his behavior at the death of 
his wife, his beloved sister Jane, and his daughter, 
Mrs. Eppes. At one time his studies led him to 
believe in Presbyterianism as the clearest theo 
logical expression of the teachings of Christ. In 
1794, as related in another chapter, he endeavored 
to arrange for the removal to America of the 
Calvinistic college of Geneva, Switzerland, and 
planned to establish the entire faculty at Charlottes- 
ville as the nucleus of a State s university. This 
was the first step in the development of the idea 
that afterwards found form and substance in the 
present University of Virginia. But French Cal 
vinism did not commend itself to the practical- 
minded Virginians. Jefferson appealed to General 
Washington for support and encouragement, and 
urged him to dedicate the property presented to 
him by the Legislature as an endowment for such 
an institution. Washington s practical mind ques- 

323 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

tioned the expediency of importing a faculty of 
theologians unfamiliar with the language and un 
sympathetic with the religious opinion prevailing 
in Virginia, and suggested to Jefferson that if 
teachers were to be brought from abroad it would 
be better to seek them in the English universities. 
Acting upon his advice, Jefferson turned to Edin 
burgh, and endeavored to obtain a faculty there. 
This, however, was only one of his many incon 
sistencies, and those who are familiar with the 
incidents of his life will not be surprised to learn 
that in a letter to a friend he commended a nursery 
of the gloomiest and cruelest sort of Presbyterian- 
ism and a seminary of Calvinists as the two best 
institutions of learning in the world. 

" You know well," he writes to Wilson Nicolas, 
" that the colleges of Edinburg and Geneva, as 
seminaries of learning, are the two eyes of Europe, 
of which Great Britain and America give prefer 
ence to the former, but all other countries to the 
latter," and he urged the Legislature of Virginia to 
pay the expense of the transfer of the entire faculty 
to this country and to assume the financial respon 
sibility of their support " for the good of our 
country in general, and the promotion of science." 

Later in life, however, under the influence and 
teachings of Dr. Priestley, he abandoned Calvinism, 
and adopted a creed quite similar to that of the 
Unitarians of the present day. 

During the later years of his life, when he was 
past eighty, Jefferson denounced Calvinism with 
his customary vehemence. He spoke of the five 
points of Calvinism as " a blasphemous absurdity," 
" the hocus-pocus phantasm of a God" created by 
John Calvin, which " like another Cerberus" had 
"one body and three heads," and declared that 
in his opinion it would be "more pardonable to 

324 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

believe in no God at all than to blaspheme Him 
by the atrocious attributes of Calvin." 

Jefferson s definition of a church was : " A vol 
untary society of men, joining themselves together 
of their own accord, in order to the public wor 
shiping of God, in such a manner as they judge 
acceptable to Him, and effectual to the salvation 
of their souls. It is voluntary because no man 
is by nature bound to any church. The hope of 
salvation is the cause of his entering into it. If 
he finds anything wrong in it he should be as 
free to go out as he was to come in," and on that 
principle he based his statute for religious liberty, 
which in his own estimation was second only in 
importance to the Declaration of Independence. 
In such a spirit he entered upon a crusade for 
freedom of thought, as well as freedom of action, 
and held religious liberty as precious as civil lib 
erty. It was natural for him to do so, for the 
laws of Virginia regarding religion were as tyran 
nical as the exactions of the king. 

When Jefferson was studying law he discovered 
to his surprise that it was a maxim of the courts 
that the Bible was a part of the common law of 
the realm, and that upon its authority witches 
were hanged, tithes exacted, profanity punished, 
labor on Sunday forbidden, and attendance upon 
religious worship required. After patient investi 
gation he wrote an argument, which will be found 
among his published papers, to prove that this was 
a mistake. He said : " The people have not given 
the magistrates the care of their souls because 
they could not. They could not because no man 
has the right to abandon the care of his salvation 
to another. The opinions of men on religion are 
not the subject of civil government nor under its 
jurisdiction." 

325 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

He traced the error to its source in the ancient 
law-books, and his conclusion was that the words 
" ancien scripture" as employed in the original 
meant the ancient records of the church, instead 
of the Holy Scriptures, as he believed they had 
been improperly translated. His researches began 
in the seventh century, when Christianity was in 
troduced into England, and he examined every 
authority and source of information without being 
able to find evidence of either the formal or 
informal adoption of the Bible as a part of the 
common law. He was convinced that the monks 
had improperly interpolated the last four chapters 
of Exodus and from the 23d to the 29th verses 
of the fifteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles 
into the laws cf King Alfred. 

However, the grant to Sir Walter Raleigh con 
tained an express proviso that the laws of the 
colony should be founded " on the Christian faith 
now professed by the Church of England," and, 
as soon as the condition of the people permitted, 
it was divided into parishes, each of which was 
placed under the care of a minister of the Anglican 
Church. Several of these ministers had been de 
ported from England for bad behavior. Others 
had emigrated to the colonies to escape prose 
cution for crime and to avoid expulsion from holy 
orders. Some of them, however, were men of 
high character, great piety, and zeal. The colonial 
parishes were compelled to accept any shepherd 
that the Bishop of London assigned to them, and 
they were considered proper fields for curates who 
were not wanted in England. The most of the 
curates, secure for life in their glebes and salaries, 
devoted Sunday to preaching, and the rest of the 
week to sport and more debasing diversions, ruling 
their congregations according to their amiability, 

326 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

and permitting friendly planters to pay for their 
rum and other supplies and join them in dissipa 
tion and disorder, They judged their rich parish 
ioners by faith and not by sight, and estimated 
their piety by their professions and not by their 
acts. 

But the surplice of a priest could not conceal 
vice, and the profession fell into contempt. Their 
influence was demoralizing; their habits made 
them indolent and indifferent to the welfare of 
their parishioners. The greater number finally 
became attached to the households of the wealthier 
families, assisting in entertaining their guests and 
spending their incomes, and those who were not 
actually dissolute became easy-going, self-indul 
gent, good-natured, pleasure-loving men of the 
world, who endeavored to make up in forms and 
ceremonies what they lacked in spirit and truth. 
The tales that are told of the clergy of Old Vir 
ginia, though reported by clergymen themselves, 
are equal to the traditions of the priesthood of 
Spain. These self-indulgent gentlemen, however, 
were very particular on points of theology, and in 
sisted upon the recognition of their authority and 
the enforcement of the laws that related to the 
church. The intrusion of Presbyterians, Quakers, 
Methodists, and other dissenters caused great in 
dignation, particularly as these frugal embassadors 
to the poor did not hesitate to denounce the indo 
lence and immorality of the clergymen of the 
Established Church, and made them indignant in 
mind if they did not always awaken their con 
sciences. Bishop Meade mentions that in 1740 
the importation of the first infidel books into Vir 
ginia created such excitement that the governor 
and the president of the college took counsel to 
gether, appealed to the authorities at London, and 

327 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

new laws were passed more cruel than those of 
England to protect the true faith. 

Of New England intolerance the world has 
heard enough. The blue laws of Connecticut 
were a forgery, but those of Virginia were genu 
ine, and the code combined the harshest features 
of the Spartan and Mosaic laws, the laws of Hol 
land, and the worst that were devised by the Puri 
tans of England. This was one of the chief rea 
sons why the intelligent young men of Jefferson s 
day were on ill terms with the church. 

The first law passed by the House of Burgesses 
of Virginia provided that " no man shall sell or 
give hoes or dogs to the Indians," and imposed 
the penalty of death upon those who furnished 
them arms or ammunition. A tax of one pound 
of tobacco was imposed upon " all persons above 
the age of sixteen," and " all persons whatsoever 
upon the Sabbath day shall attend divine service 
both forenoon and afternoon, and such as bear 
arms shall bring their pieces, swords, powder and 
shot." Immorality, debauchery, drunkenness, gam 
bling, duelling, and other vices of gentlemen were 
overlooked. A party of planters might play cards 
until the church-bell rang, but they must be in 
their seats during the service or suffer the penalty. 
The parson might be engaged with them in the 
game, when it was their duty to see that he ar 
rived on time to perform his holy office. A good 
churchman might impoverish his own family or 
another s at the card table, or roll under the table 
in a drunken stupor every night after dinner, and 
lie there until his slaves carried him off to bed 
without losing his social prestige or his good 
standing in the church, but Quakers who wore 
their hats in church or in the presence of an official 
of the colony were put in the pillory. The cele- 

328 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

bration of the mass was a capital offence. Cath 
olics were not allowed to teach school, carry guns, 
own horses, or give testimony in courts of law. 
The denial of the divinity of Christ was punished 
by death at the stake. Baptists, Quakers, Metho 
dists, and Presbyterians were forbidden to teach 
or hold service. Those who did so were arrested 
" for disturbing the peace," and fined so many 
pounds of tobacco " for preaching the gospel of 
the Son of God," as Patrick Henry put it. If 
a man treated a clergyman one of those described 
with disrespect, he was publicly whipped and 
required to ask pardon in church before the whole 
congregation on three successive Sundays. For 
failing to attend the Sunday exhortation in the 
catechism, the loss of a week s provisions was 
the penalty for the first offence; for the second, 
whipping and the loss of provisions as well; for 
the third, imprisonment and whipping. The 
thirty-third article of the code relating to re 
ligious duties of the colonists was benevolent and 
comprehensive, and is a fair sample of the rest : 

" There is not one man nor woman in this colony 
now present, or hereafter to arrive, but shall give 
up an account of his and their faith and religion, 
and repair unto the minister, that, by his confer 
ence with them, he may understand and gather 
whether heretofore they have been sufficiently in 
structed and catechised in the principles and 
grounds of religion; whose weakness and igno 
rance herein the minister finding, and advising 
them, in all love and charity, to repair often unto 
him, to receive therein a greater measure of knowl 
edge; if they shall refuse so to repair unto him, 
and he, the minister, give notice thereof unto the 
governor, the governor shall cause the offender, 
for his first time of refusal, to be whipped; for 

329 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

the second time, to be whipped twice and to ac 
knowledge his fault upon the Sabbath day in the 
assembly of the congregation; and, for the third 
time, to be whipped every day until he hath made 
this same acknowledgment, and asked forgiveness 
for the same; and shall repair unto the minister 
to be further instructed as aforesaid; and upon 
the Sabbath, when the minister shall catechise, 
and of him demand any question concerning his 
faith and knowledge, he shall not refuse to make 
answer, upon the same peril." 

When Jefferson was appointed, with his old pre 
ceptor, Chancellor Wythe, and Edmund Pendle- 
ton, to revise the code of Virginia he wiped off 
the statute-books all laws relating to worship and 
religion and substituted for them a single para 
graph which he considered of an importance equal 
to that of the Declaration of Independence: 

" No man shall be compelled to frequent or sup 
port any religious worship, ministry, or place what 
soever; nor shall he be enforced, restrained, mo 
lested or burdened in his body or his goods; nor 
shall he otherwise suffer on account of his relig 
ious opinions or beliefs; but all men shall be free 
to profess, and by argument to maintain, their 
opinions in matters of religion ; and the same shall 
in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil 
capacities." 

For nine years, from 1777 to 1786, Jefferson, 
Madison, Wythe, Patrick Henry, Edmund Ran 
dolph, Edmund Pendleton, and other liberals 
fought the clergy and the conservative aristocracy 
of Virginia to secure this simple solution of the 
religious problem. At the first session after the 
new code was submitted, all they could accomplish 
after twenty-five days of debate was the repeal 
of the statute imposing tithes and penalties for not 

330 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

attending church. At each subsequent session of 
the Legislature they gained something. In 1779, 
for example, all forced contributions for the sup 
port of religion were surrendered. The church 
fought hard and was especially tenacious in its 
efforts to retain the principle that the civil govern 
ment had the authority to regulate religious belief. 
It was not until 1786 that this point was surren 
dered and that part of the statute repealed which 
made it a felony to deny the doctrine of the Trin 
ity, and deprived a parent of the custody of his 
children if he could not subscribe to the Episcopal 
creed. 

When the statute for religious freedom was 
finally adopted Jefferson offered an amendment 
which is perhaps unique in legislation, for it was 
a personal admonition to all future Legislatures 
not to attempt its repeal : 

" And though we know well that this Assembly, 
elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of 
legislation, has no power to restrain the acts of 
succeeding assemblies constituted with power equal 
to our own, and that, to declare this act irrevocable 
would therefore have no effect in law; yet we are 
free to declare, and do declare, that the rights 
hereby asserted are the natural rights of mankind ; 
and that, if any act shall hereafter be passed to 
repeal the present or narrow its operation, such 
an act will be an infringement of natural rights." 

There is a popular impression that Jefferson 
forbade religious instruction at the University of 
Virginia, but the contrary is the case. That in 
stitution is usually coupled with Girard College 
as an example of atheistic propaganda, but the 
motto of the University is a passage from St. Paul 
selected by Jefferson, and by his orders inscribed 
upon the frieze of the rotunda of the auditorium : 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make 
you free." 

The catalogue of the institution says that " mo 
rality and religion are recognized as the foundation 
and indispensable concomitants of education. 
Great efforts are made to surround the students 
with religious influences, but experience having 
proved that it is best to forbear the employment 
of coercion, the attendance upon religious exer 
cises is entirely voluntary. Prayers are held every 
evening and divine service is conducted twice on 
Sunday in the University Chapel by clergymen 
invited from the principal religious denomina 
tions." 

The rules permit all ministers and students who 
are preparing for the ministry to enjoy free of 
cost all of the privileges of the University, " in 
cluding tuition, attendance at the lectures and reci 
tations, and the privileges of the libraries and 
laboratories." Very few if any other institutions 
are so liberal. 

In the regular course each term are lectures on 
religious and scriptural subjects such as " Bible 
History," the "Holy Land," the "Mosaic Code 
of Laws," the " Life of Christ," the " Life of St. 
Paul," the " Lives of the Apostles," the " Kings 
of Israel," the "Literary Features of the Bible," 
the " Poetry of the Bible," the " History of Proph 
ecy," and similar topics. These lectures are de 
livered by gentlemen selected for their learning, 
but sectarian teaching and theological discussion 
are prohibited. 

In 1822 a Scotchman named Cooper, and a son- 
in-law of Dr. Priestley, was elected professor of 
chemistry at a salary of one thousand dollars a 
year. When it was discovered that he held views 
similar to those of his father-in-law, the founder 

332 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

of the Unitarian denomination, and that he denied 
the Trinity and the influence of the Holy Spirit, 
the conservative religious sentiment of Virginia 
was shocked, and a violent attack was made upon 
the young institution which had received its en 
dowment and expected its maintenance from the 
State Legislature. Much to their chagrin, the 
Board of Visitors was compelled by public senti 
ment to cancel the contract with Professor Cooper, 
but paid him one year s salary and secured him a 
seat in the faculty of the University of South Caro 
lina. This is all set forth in Jefferson s own hand 
writing in the records of the Board of Visitors, 
and led to a declaration of the policy of the Uni 
versity of Virginia with reference to religious in 
struction which was offered jointly by Jefferson, 
Madison, and Monroe on October 7, 1822. It 
was prepared by Jefferson and appears in his hand 
writing, announcing the intention of the Board 
of Visitors to place all religious sects upon an 
equal footing in the University, and to allow each 
to establish and maintain a divinity school under 
its care, " provided the same should be financially 
independent and were not a burden upon the} 
endowment of the institution." It was resolved 
that the library should be supplied promptly upon 
publication with the writings "of the most re 
spected authorities of every sect, and that courses 
of ethical lectures should be delivered at regular 
intervals for the education of the students in those 
moral obligations in which all of the sects agreed." 
In explanation of this policy of non-sectarian 
education Jefferson prepared a paper which was 
made public at the same time. " It is not to be 
understood," he said, " that instruction in religious 
opinion and religious duties is precluded because 
of indifference on the part of the board of visitors 

333 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

to the best interests of society. On the contrary, 
in the opinion of the board, the relations which 
exist between man and his Maker and the duties 
resulting from those relations, are among the most 
interesting and important to every human being, 
and the most incumbent upon his study and in 
vestigation." 

Dr. Joseph Priestley, who is supposed to have 
been chiefly responsible for Jefferson s religious 
views, and had much influence in modifying them, 
was one of the most illustrious men of science in 
the eighteenth century. He was the discoverer of 
oxygen and the inventor of the soda fountain. 
He began life as a Presbyterian minister, but 
gradually modified his views until finally he taught 
the mild theology of the Unitarian faith and may 
be considered one of the founders of that denomi 
nation. After leaving the pulpit he taught school 
and wrote school-books, which were for many 
years in general use in English-speaking countries. 
When Dr. Franklin went to London in 1761 he 
described to Dr. Priestley his experiments in elec 
tricity, which suggested the publication of the 
first printed volume relating to that science. The 
work was remarkably successful, passed through 
several editions, and was considered an authority 
during that generation. While living in Birming 
ham Dr. Priestley wrote a reply to the " Reflec 
tions of Edmund Burke." This aroused the in 
dignation of the people, who attacked his house 
and chapel, burned them, smashed his apparatus, 
and scattered his books and manuscripts through 
the streets of the city. Dr. Priestley made a claim 
for four thousand pounds against the city, and 
after nine-years litigation was awarded twenty- 
five hundred pounds to compensate him for the 
damage committed by the mob. Lord Shelbourne, 

334 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

whose librarian he had formerly been, gave him 
an annual pension of one hundred and fifty pounds 
for life, and his brother-in-law settled upon him 
an annuity of two hundred pounds. Thus secured 
against poverty, Dr. Priestley sought more con 
genial surroundings in the United States. He was 
received as a distinguished scholar, was given a 
public reception in New York, declined the chair 
of chemistry in the University of Pennsylvania, 
and a fee of one thousand dollars for a course of 
scientific lectures. He retired to a farm in North 
umberland County, Pennsylvania, where he con 
tinued his studies and kept his name before the 
public as the author of school-books and works 
of scientific value. His published volumes number 
one hundred and forty. Dr. Priestley s religious 
views made him the object of frequent and bitter 
attacks from the orthodox clergy, but the Franklin 
circle in Philadelphia made a great deal of him. 
He was the most conspicuous member of the Philo 
sophical Society after Franklin s death, and fre 
quently preached in the Unitarian chapel which had 
been founded by his followers in Philadelphia and 
was regularly attended by Jefferson. 

Another reason for the popular belief that Jef 
ferson was an atheist was found in his refusal to 
receive the rector of the Episcopal church of which 
he was a vestryman while on his dying bed. His 
physician has left an unprejudiced account of that 
circumstance, as follows : 

" Upon my expressing the opinion, on one oc 
casion that he was somewhat better, he turned to 
me and said, Do not imagine for a moment that 
I feel the smallest solicitude about the result; I 
am like an old watch, the pinion worn out here, 
and a wheel there, until it can go no longer. On 
another occasion when he was unusually ill he 

335 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

observed to the doctor, A few hours more, doc 
tor, and it will be all over/ Upon being suddenly 
aroused from sleep by noise in the room, he asked 
if he had heard the name of Dr. Hatch mentioned 
the Minister whose church he attended. Upon 
my replying in the negative, he observed, as he 
turned over, I have no objection to see him, as a 
|kind and good neighbor. The impression made 
upon my mind at the moment was, that his religious 
opinions having been formed upon mature study 
and reflection, he had no doubts upon his mind, 
and therefore did not desire the attendance of a 
clergyman. I have never since doubted of the 
correctness of the impression then taken." 

His critics also quote a memorandum which he 
furnished to a young friend setting forth his idea 
of the best way to study religion, which was as 
follows : 

" RELIGION. 

"In the first place divest yourself of all bias in favor of 
novelty and singularity of opinion. Indulge them on any 
other subject rather than that of religion. On the other 
hand shake off all fears and servile prejudices under which 
weak minds are severely crouched. Fix Reason firmly in her 
seat and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Ques 
tion with boldness even the existence of a God; because if 
there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason 
rather than of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine 
first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible then 
as you would Livy or Tacitus. For example in the Book of 
Joshua we are told that the sun stood still for several hours. 
Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus, we should 
class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, 
beasts, etc. But it is said that the writer of that book was 
inspired. Examine therefore, candidly, what evidence there 
is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled 
to your inquiry because millions believe it. On the other 
hand you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it 
is to the law of nature. You will next read the New Testa 
ment. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep 
in your eye the opposite pretentious : I. Of those who say 
he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended and 
reversed the laws of nature at will, and ascended bodily into 
heaven; and 2, Of those who say he was a man of iNegiti- 

336 




THOMAS JEFFERSON 
(Painted by Thomas Sully) 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

mate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set 
out with pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, 
and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted 
according to the Roman Law, which punished the first com 
mission of that offence by whipping, and the second by exile, 
or death in furco. See this law in Digest lib. 48 tit. 19 
28, 30 and Lipsius lib. 2 de cruce, cap 2. Do not be fright 
ened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If 
it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incite 
ments to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you will 
feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will pro 
cure for you. If you find reason to believe there is a God, 
a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, and that 
he approves you will be a vast additional incitement: if 
that Jesus was also a God, you will be comforted by a belief 
of his aid and love. Your own reason is the only oracle 
given you by heaven ; and you are answerable, not for the 
Tightness but for the uprightness of the decision." 

But, on the other hand, during the latter years 
of his life a friend and admirer of Jefferson s, 
who had named his son after him, requested that 
he would write a letter of advice for his young 
namesake. Jefferson accordingly wrote the follow 
ing beautiful note to be kept until the young child 
came to years of understanding : 

"" To Thomas Jefferson Smith. 

" This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The 
writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its coun 
sels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested 
that I would address to you something which might possibly 
have a favorable influence upon the course of life you have 
to run; and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that 
course. Few words will be necessary with good dispositions 
on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your 
parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country 
more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not of 
the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you 
have entered be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable 
bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted _ to care for the 
things of this world, every action of your life will be under 
my regard. Farewell. 

" TH. JEFFERSON. 

" MONTICELLO, Feb. 21 st, 1825." 

In addition to his liberal religious views, Jeffer- 
son s critics among the orthodox churches of the \ 

337 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

country were inclined to consider his attachment 
for France a dangerous tendency. The conserva 
tive men of the young nation considered the French 
people reckless, extravagant, and depraved, and 
had no confidence in their political, moral, or re 
ligious character. Hence it was not unnatural 
for them to look with apprehension and disfavor 
upon a politician who regarded them so highly. 

While he was President Jefferson refused to issue 
the customary Thanksgiving and Fast-Day proc 
lamations, on the ground that " civil powers alone 
have been given to the President of the United 
States, and not authority to prescribe any religious 
exercises." But nevertheless he believed in prayer, 
and frequently appealed to the Supreme Being for 
guidance and protection. In his first inaugural 
address as President he invoked " that Infinite 
Power which rules the destinies of the universe 
to lead our councils to what is best and give them 
a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity." 
" I offer my prayers to the Supreme Ruler of the 
universe," he said, " that he may long preserve 
our country in freedom and prosperity." " I join 
in addressing him whose kingdom ruleth over 
all." 

In his second inaugural address President Jeffer 
son acknowledged the Divine Power and invoked 
"the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, 
who led our forefathers as Israel of old from 
their native land and planted them in the country 
flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of 
life; who has covered our infancy with his provi 
dence and our riper years with his wisdom and 
power; and to whose goodness I ask you to join 
with me in supplication that he will so enlighten 
the minds of your servants, guide their councils 
and prosper their measures, that whatsoever they 

338 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

do shall result in good, and secure to you the 
peace, friendship and approbation of all nations." 
" That the Supreme Ruler of the universe may 
have our country under his special care, will be 
among the latest of my prayers." 

In an address to Washington he said, " We 
join you in commending the interests of our dearest 
country to the protection of Almighty God." 

To the Danbury Baptists in 1802 he said, "I 
reciprocate your prayers for the protection and 
blessing of the Common Father and Creator of 
men." 

To the Baltimore Baptists he said, " I return 
your kind prayers with supplications to the same 
Almighty Being for your future welfare and that 
of our beloved country." 

In reply to a complimentary address from the 
Legislature of Virginia he wrote, " That the Su 
preme Ruler of the universe may have our country 
under his special care, will be among the latest 
of my prayers." 

Jefferson frequently expressed his disapproval 
of foreign missions. " I do not know that it is 
a duty to disturb by missionaries the religion 
and peace of other countries," he said, " who 
think themselves bound to extinguish by fire and 
fagot the heresies to which we give the name of 
conversions and quote our own example for it." 
Nevertheless he gave liberally to missionary pur 
poses, and in his account-books we find frequent 
entries of sums of money paid towards the sup 
port of churches, missionaries, and religious 
schools. During a single year, 1803, while he 
was in the White House, he gave one hundred 
dollars to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, one hundred dol 
lars to a church in South Carolina, fifty dollars 
for a church in Alexandria, and one hundred dol- 

339 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

lars " to Reverend Mr. Coffin for a college in 
Tennessee." 

A random examination of several pages of his 
account-book shows the following contributions 
for religious purposes : 

" 1798, Nov. 27. Pd. Mr. B. a subscript, for mission 
aries $15. 

"1800 Feb. 26 Pd. 5 dollars in part for $20. subscript, 
for a hot press Bible. 

" 1801, June 25. Gave orders on J. Barnes for 25 D. 
toward fitting up a chapel. 

" 1801, Sept. 23. Contribution at a sermon $7.20 

" 1802, Ap. 7. Gave an order on J. Barnes, for 50 dollars 
in favor of Revd. Mr. Parkinson toward a Baptist meeting 
house. 

" 1802, Ap. 9. Gave order on J. Barnes in favor of Rev. 
Dr. Smith toward rebuilding Princeton College, 100 dol 
lars." 

In 1804 Jefferson contributed fifty dollars to 
the American Bible Society. 

There is not the slightest doubt of Jefferson s 
belief in the Supreme Being, and in a letter to 
Adams in 1823, three years before his death, he 
gave his views as follows : "I hold without ap 
peal to revelation, that when we take a view of 
the universe in all its parts, general or particular, 
it is impossible for the human mind not to per 
ceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate 
skill, and infinite power in every atom of its com 
position. It is impossible I say, for the human 
mind not to believe that there is in all this de 
sign, cause, and effect, up to an ultimate cause, 
a fabricator of all things from matter and motion 
their preserver and regulator, while permitted to 
exist in their present form, and their regeneration 
into new and other forms. We see too, evident 
proofs of the necessity of a superintending power, 
to maintain the universe in its course and order. 
So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent 

340 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

and powerful agent, that, of the infinite number 
of men who have existed through all time, they 
have believed, in the proportion of a million to 
one in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence 
of a Creator." 

Jefferson believed in a future life. He writes 
to John Dickenson, " Your letter was like the joy 
we expect in the mansions of the blessed, when 
received with the embraces of our fathers, we 
shall be welcomed with their blessings as having 
done our part not unworthily of them." 

And then to John Cartwright : " Your age of 
eighty-four and mine of eighty-one years insure 
us a speedy meeting. We may then commune 
at leisure, and more fully, on the good and evil 
which, in the course of our long lives, we have 
both witnessed." 

In a letter to Charles Thomson, written from 
MonticeMo during his last days, he said : " Say 
nothing of my religion; it is known to myself 
and my God alone. Its evidence before the world 
is to be sought in my life; if that has been honest 
and dutiful to society, the religion which has regu 
lated it can not be a bad one. It is a singular 
anxiety which some people have that we should 
all think alike. Would the world be more beauti 
ful were all our faces alike, were our tempers, 
our talents, our tastes, our forms, our wishes, 
aversions and pursuits cast exactly in the same 
mould ? If no variety existed in the animal, vege 
table or mineral creation, but all were strictly uni 
form, catholic and orthodox, what a world of 
physical and moral monotony it would be ! These 
are the absurdities into which those run who usurp 
the throne of God and dictate to him what he 
should have done. May they with all their meta 
physical riddles appear before that tribunal with 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

as clean hands and hearts as you and I shall. 
There, suspended in the scales of eternal justice, 
faith and works will show their worth by their 
weight. God bless you and preserve you long in 
life and health." 

Nor is there any doubt concerning Jefferson s 
opinion of the Bible. Mrs. Ellen W. Coolidge, a 
granddaughter, says that at the time of the death 
of Mrs. Eppes, his daughter, he sat beside her life 
less remains for hours with his Bible in his hands. 
" He has, who has been so often and so harshly 
accused of unbelief," she writes, " in his hour of 
intense affliction sought and found consolation in 
the sacred volume. A Comforter- was there for 
his true heart and devout spirit although his faith 
might not be what the world calls orthodox." 
In writing to Governor Page of his daughter s 
health Jefferson said, " But whatever is to be our 
destiny, wisdom as well as duty dictates that we 
should acquiesce in the will of Him whose it is 
to give and take away, and be contented in the 
enjoyment of those who are still permitted to be 
with us." 

He left several letters and other writings bear 
ing upon the Bible as a literary work and a teacher 
of morals. "There never was a more pure and 
sublime system of morality delivered to man," he 
wrote Dr. Priestley, " than is to be found in the 
four Evangelists." 

Speaking of David the Psalmist, Jefferson once 
wrote : " I have no hesitation in giving him the 
palm over all the hymnists of every language and 
of every time. Turn to the I48th Psalm. Have 
such conceptions ever before been expressed?" 

To Isaac Engelbrecht, who wrote him shortly 
before his death for a sentiment in autograph, 
Jefferson replied, " Knowing nothing more moral, 

342 



4 I am resolved what to do, that L. /6. 



(lueflnand on m aura ote mon ad-< 

r t^ mventauuVtuTm^JI^ 
5. Alo.s il lit veim M-p.nvmtut 
r laouudiM debit. ui-<d- MM] 1.1.11- 


when 1 ant put out oi the stewa.ni- 

<liip, t r. y may receive me into 

r> So h.e called evcrv one of his 
(ord a !,!)!(. !> ,;>,(, hi n, and said 


6. 11 rf>mdil : Oenl IIKMIICS 


ihou unio my 1 


ml? 


et ecm-en promptemeut un autre 
de ciuquaute. 
7 II Mil ensiiite a an autre : Et 
toi, Combieu dais - tu ? 11 dit : 
Cent rnesiue* de IVuinem. Et ! </- 
I unome lui dit : Hepretta* ton bil* 


-ires oi oil. 
him, Take thy 
.isiicklv. und wt 
7 Then said h 

s ,i !. \n hund 
wheat. And 1 
Cake tliv bill, in 
s And the lor< 

<lone wisely.: fi 
this world are i 
wiser than the t 


\nd he Mud unto 
bill, and sit doW i 
,ti: fifty. 

to another, And 
si thovi ? And he 
red measures oi 
u said unto him, 
d write fourscore. 
commended the 
because he had 
r the children of 
i their generation 
hildrenof light. 
,to you, Make to 
Isofthemammcfflp 
tess ; that, when 
y receive you in* 
abit&tions. 
faithful in that 
is faithful also iu 
that is unjust in 
ist also \t\ much, 
e, ye have not 
the unrighteous 
will commit to, 
ue n cAf .? 
ve not been faith- 
is another man s, 
ou that which is 

in serve two mas- 
he will hate the 
e other ; or elte 
H- one, and dta* 
Ye cannot serfJ 
on. 
trisees also* who- 
heard all thef*T 

der i<!e Slfe^ 

vmto tlwW/W 


ue-vingf*. 
; 8. El In nmitre loua cet e coiwroe 
iulidele de ce qu il avoit agi avec 
ntbilete ; car les eulaiu de ce 
siecle sont plus prudena liau? leur 
gfindtation, que les enfant de !u- 
luiere. v / 
o. Et moi , ie vous dis auSM : 


chesses injustes , alin que quaiid 
vous Tiendrez a manquer , il* 
vous revoivetudansles tabernacle* 
e tentels. 
io. Celui qni est fidele dans les 
petites cboses ( seru aussi fidele 
daus les grandes ; et celui qui est 
injure dans Ie.i petitea choes , 


\ ourselves frien 
of unrfgbteouai 
ve fail, they ma 
to everlasting h 
10 He that is 
Mrlu ch is least, 
much ; and he 
the least, is unj 
H If, therefoi 


fidele dan* le* richcsses inuTtea , 


12. Et si vous u avez pas ete fi- 
deles dans ct qui est aautrui ." qui 
vous doiiueia ce qui est a vous ? 
i3. Jvul servileiu- ne peutservir 


mammon, who 
your trust die ti 
J[2 And if ye ha 
fulinthat which 
who shall give 
your own ? 
l.lXo servant c.c 
ters : for either 
one, and love th 
he will hold to t 
pise the other. 
God tti.d mamm 
14 And the Pin 
were covetous, 
things : and the) 
15 And lie said 


it pouy z<cnii-Dieuet Mammon. 
1 1. Les I havisiens , qui e toicnt 

i ii. Et it leui- dUJpPouf jous , 


1 : j 



Jure they which justify yourselves 
.-for 



before men ; but Col knoweth ! 
hour hearts: for th.it which is 
piighiy esteemed amon^ men .is. 

abomination in the sij^lit of C,,r 

L-is-i:^ _J 



PAGE FROM JEFFERSON S BIBLE 

(Original in Smithsonian Institution. Washington) 



MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

more sublime, more worthy of preservation than 
David s description of a good man in his XVth 
Psalm, I here transcribe it from Brady and Tate s 
version." Then, notwithstanding his great age 
and lame wrist, he copies the Psalm in full. 

When he was a law student Jefferson wrote an 
essay on the " Evidences of Christianity from the 
Standpoint of a Lawyer," and it is considered an 
able argument. 

One of the most interesting objects in the Smith 
sonian Institution at Washington is known as " Mr. 
Jefferson s Bible." During his retirement at Mon- 
ticello, after his return from the White House, 
he spent several months in the preparation of an 
arrangement of the New Testament which he 
intended to publish and to have translated into 
the various Indian languages as the basis of a true 
religion. It is a little leather-bound volume, evi 
dently intended for an account-book. With great 
neatness and care he pasted upon its pages four 
versions of the New Testament, Latin, Greek, 
French, and English, in parallel columns. The 
volume is made with the scissors and paste-pot, 
and a few interlineations and notes in Jefferson s 
minute handwriting. He took a copy of the New 
Testament and cut from it and threw away as 
worthless every verse and paragraph that to his; 
mind was ambiguous or controversial, every state- <: 
ment of fact that would not have been admitted 
as evidence in the court of justice, and all dupli 
cations in the narrative of the life of Christ. The 
remainder of the gospels and the epistles are then 
arranged in their proper chronological order, a 
passage from St. Luke being sandwiched between 
one from St. Matthew and one from St. John. ; 
His idea was to present the best account of every 
incident and fact in the lives of Christ and His 

343 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

apostles with all of their teachings that were un 
disputed and that required no interpretation. 

On the margins are explanatory notes and refer 
ences. The index refers to the proper place of 
each passage in the ordinary Testament, so that 
the reader may compare it with the original if 
he desires to do so. He cites the sections of the 
Roman Law under which Christ was tried, and 
attaches a map of Palestine showing the places 
mentioned in the New Testament, and a map of 
the world showing the knowledge of geography 
at the time of the crucifixion. 

In a letter to a Mr. Robinson, which evidently 
was written before he completed this work, Jeffer 
son refers to it as follows : " I too have made a 
wee little book from the same materials which I 
call the Philosophy of Jesus/ It is a paradigma 
of His doctrines, made by cutting the texts out 
of the book and arranging them on the pages of 
a blank book in a certain order of time or subject. 
A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I 
have never seen. It is a document in proof that 
I am a real Christian; that is to say, a disciple of 
the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the 
Platonists who call me infidel and themselves 
Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they 
draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its 
authors never said or saw. They have compounded 
from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the 
comprehension of man, of which the great reformer 
of the vicious ethics and deism of the Jews, were 
He to return to earth, would not recognize one 
feature. If I had time I would add to my little 
book the Greek, Latin and French texts, in col 
umns side by side, and I wish I could subjoin a 
translation of Gassendi s syntagma of the doc 
trines of Epicurus, which, notwithstanding the 

344 



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INDEX TO JEFFERSON S HIHLK 

COriginal in Smithsonian Institution, Washington) 



* K 




MORALS AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS 

calumnies of the Stoics and caricatures of Cicero, 
is the most rational system remaining of the phil 
osophy of the ancients, as frugal of vicious indul 
gence and fruitful of virtue as the hyperbolical 
extravagances of his rival sects." 



345 



XII 

JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

THE most striking characteristics of Jefferson 
were his egotism, his industry, and his comprehen 
sive learning. He had an opinion on every subject 
for every comer. The only subjects on which he 
confessed himself deficient were geology and 
poetry. No problem was too abstruse for him to 
grasp. He seldom asked advice or assistance from 
others. He was an infallible oracle to half the 
population of the country and a dangerous dema 
gogue to the other half, but he was universally 
recognized as a man of scientific as well as literary 
attainments. Franklin was the first president of 
the American Philosophical Society, then the most 
learned of colonial associations. He was suc 
ceeded by David Rittenhouse, who died in 1796, 
and after him came Jefferson, who was also an 
active or honorary member of nearly every literary 
or scientific society in the United States. There 
is scarcely a subject in the entire range of human 
inquiry upon which Jefferson did not express his 
views in writing with fearlessness, with absolute 
faith in his own convictions and judgment. He 
discusses art, architecture, the treatment of infants, 
meteorology, music, astronomy, the practice of 
medicine, the breeding of sheep, the science of 
government, the apparel of women, the origin 
of meteoric storms, and the temperature of the 
moon as freely as politics or religion. In all the 
sciences he advanced propositions and solved prob 
lems with equal audacity. In criticism he was caus- 

346 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

tic and reckless, and commends with the same free 
dom that he condemns. He rejects the Mosaic 
account of the creation and the flood as fiction, 
and pronounces the Gospels the sublimest code 
of morals ever conceived. He would select mili 
tary commanders by their physiognomy. The 
ornaments and amusements of life," he says, " are 
entitled to their portion of attention. Those for a 
female are dancing, drawing and music. Dancing 
is a healthful exercise and graceful amusement," 
he said. " No less than two hours of each day 
should be devoted to exercise, for a strong body 
makes the mind strong." " I think it is lost time," 
he says in a letter to Peter Carr, " to attend lec 
tures on moral philosophy," and, almost on the 
same date, he breathes this beautiful sentiment to 
David Campbell : " I am sensible of the mark of 
esteem manifested by the name you have given 
your son. Tell him from me that he must con 
sider as essentially belonging to it, to love his 
friends and wish no ill of his enemies." 

The only thing Jefferson declined to criticise 
was poetry, and he actually confesses his inability 
to do so. Although he constantly read and quoted 
Homer, Horace, and Virgil in his student days, 
he said, " To my own mortification, I am of all 
men living the last who should undertake to decide 
as to the merits of poetry." Nevertheless he was 
fond of Ossian. He objected to fiction. He held 
that novels " were a great obstacle to a good edu 
cation, for the time lost in reading them should 
be instructively employed. For a like reason too 
much poetry should not be indulged in;" but like 
Washington he wrote poems occasionally. Wash 
ington s poems were amorous; Jefferson s were 
funereal and generally concerned a future life. 
Here is one: 

347 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

" Shores there are, blessed shores for us remain, 

And favored isles with golden fruitage crowned, 
Where tufted flow rets paint the verdant plain, 

Where every breeze shall medicine every wound. 
There the stern tyrant that embitters life 

Shall vainly suppliant spread his asking hand ; 
There shall we view the billows strife, 

Aid the kind breast and waft his boat to land." 

Two days before his death Jefferson told Mrs. 
Randolph, his daughter, that in an old pocket- 
book in a certain drawer in his desk she would 
find something that would interest her. She found 
these lines : 

" A DEATH BED ADVICE FROM T. J. TO M. R. 

" Life s visions are vanished, its dreams are no more, 
Dear friends of my bosom, why bathed in tears, 
I go to my fathers, I welcome the shore, 
Which crowns all my hopes or which buries my cares. 

" Then farewell my dear, my loved daughter adieu, 
The last pang of life is in parting from you. 
Two seraphs await me long shrouded in death, 
I will bear them your love on my last parting breath." 

His most serious literary work was his " Notes 
on Virginia," which was written for M. de Mar- 
bois, the French ambassador, who asked for infor 
mation upon the resources, the industries, and af 
fairs of that State. It is a classic in literary style 
and in the treatment of the subject, and illustrates 
his thorough knowledge of many things. All the 
state papers issued from the Department of State 
while he was at its head were written with his 
own pen. There were no assistant secretaries at 
that time and no clerks competent to prepare diplo 
matic despatches. 

Jefferson probably wrote more letters with his 
own hand than any other public man that ever 
lived. The extent of his correspondence may be 
inferred from the fact that more than twenty-six 

348 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

thousand letters, neatly folded and briefed, were 
preserved by him and carefully filed away to be 
bound after his death, with copies of the replies 
sent to more than sixteen thousand. These, how 
ever, were only a small portion of his correspond 
ence. He retained only those letters which were 
considered of future usefulness or importance. 
Stenography was not invented at that time. Every 
one of his letters was written with his own hand 
and with great care, although after breaking his 
wrist, while minister to France, the use of a pen 
became a great labor to him. His penmanship 
was small, plain, and legible, every letter being 
perfectly formed. His account-books were kept 
in so small a hand that some of the entries cannot 
be read without a magnifying-glass. 

Jefferson was ambidextrous. He could write 
equally well with either hand. When his right 
wrist was broken he learned to use his pen with 
his left hand, which became as skilful as the other. 
It would have been impossible for him to have 
carried on his extensive correspondence without 
being able to relieve his right hand at intervals. 
In a letter to John Adams in 1817 he complains 
of the burden of his correspondence. " From sun 
rise till one or two o clock in the day, and often 
from dinner to dark I am drudging at the writing 
table," he says. "All this to answer letters into 
which neither interest nor inclination on my part 
enters and often from persons whose names I have 
never heard before. Yet, writing civilly, it is hard 
to refuse them civil answers. Strangers and others 
in the most friendly disposition oppress me with 
their concerns, their pursuits, their projects, in 
ventions, and speculations, political, moral, relig 
ious, mechanical, mathematical, historical, etc, etc, 
etc." 

349 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Nearly all of Jefferson s letters were copied be 
fore he mailed them, some by his own hand, 
some by the hand of an amanuensis, but a great 
many more by the use of a polygraph and finally 
by a letter-press of his own invention. The poly 
graph, or stylograph, as he sometimes called it, 
was an instrument which produced a perfect fac 
simile, often indistinguishable from the original 
letter. It has not been in use for nearly a cen 
tury except as a toy, but the original used by 
him is still preserved in the museum of the Uni 
versity of Virginia, and is described by Professor 
Francis H. Smith of that institution as " a very 
ingenious double writing desk, with duplicate ta 
bles, pens and inkstands. The pens are connected 
together at an invariable distance by a system 
of jointed parallelograms, with two fixed centers, 
such that the pens are always parallel. Whatever 
movement is impressed upon one is simultaneously 
by the connecting linkwork communicated to the 
other pen. Hence, if one traces on a sheet letters 
or figures, its companion traces at the same time 
identically the same forms on another sheet. The 
writer therefore produces two identical pages at 
the same time. He does it with sensibly no more 
fatigue than if he were using one pen only, for 
the weight of the pens and linkwork is supported 
by a strand of delicate spring wires from a silver 
arm extending from the frame of the box above, 
out of the way of the writer. By this polygraph 
the copy may be made on paper and with ink of 
the same kind as the original." 

Jefferson is credited with being the inventor of 
the copying-press now used by everybody who de 
sires to preserve his correspondence. The first 
was made in London, and was so gratifying that 
he ordered duplicates for Adams, Madison, the 



1 1 



g- 73 
*< > 

o IH 




JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

Marquis de Lafayette, and other friends, who speak 
of them with cordial commendation. Jefferson s 
letter-books, however, show that his press was far 
from perfect. The originals in many places are 
almost entirely obliterated, and the greater part 
of the copies, which were made by pressure on 
moistened paper, are either wholly or in part illegi 
ble. Later, when his press was improved or greater 
care was taken in copying his correspondence, these 
results do not appear, but the defects of his early 
letter-press have deprived the world of a large 
part of his writings at a period of his life that 
was more interesting than any other, the later 
years of his residence in France and while he was 
Secretary of State and Vice-President. 

Thomas Jefferson Randolph, the literary exec 
utor of his grandfather, was engaged for several 
years, with the assistance of his mother, his wife, 
and his daughters, in examining and classifying 
the great mass of letters and other manuscripts. 
The collection was divided into two parts, one com 
prising documents relating to his public life, and 
the other his family and personal correspondence. 
The first collection was purchased by an act of 
Congress in 1848, and is now deposited in the 
Department of State. The letters are bound in 
volumes according to their chronological order and 
relation, with complete and ingenious indices which 
give a brief synopsis of the contents. The re 
mainder of the letters were purchased by Thomas 
Jefferson Coolidge, of Boston, a son of Ellen Ran 
dolph and a great-grandson of Jefferson. The 
collection was presented by him to the Massachu 
setts Historical Society in 1898, and such as are 
of public interest are now being printed under its 
auspices, with valuable historical notes and refer 
ences. Most of the letters in the archives of the 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Department of State have been twice published, 
first by order of Congress, and again in a private 
edition skilfully edited by Paul Leicester Ford. 

When he was eighty years old Jefferson fell 
down a flight of steps from one of the terraces 
at Monticello and broke his left arm, which gave 
him much pain at the time and was a serious in 
convenience to him for the remainder of his life. 

Jefferson had an ingenious way of marking his 
books. He had no book-plate, and in those vol 
umes purchased for the Congressional Library there 
is no name or inscription written upon the fly 
leaves. At that time publishers were in the habit 
of indicating the different folios of their books 
by the letters of the alphabet printed at the bottom 
of the page, folio A, B, C, etc. It was Jeffer 
son s habit on each page containing the folio "J" 
to write in microscopic hand "Jefferson," and 



1" Thomas" after the letter " T." 

Virginia was blessed with great men in those 
days, Washington, Marshall, Henry, Madison, 
and other patriots of the Revolution from the 
colonies had talent and learning as w r ell as pa 
triotism, but\ Jefferson was probably the most 
accomplished man in public life as well as the 
most versatile. A fine mathematician, an astrono 
mer who could reckon latitude and longitude as 
well as a sailopf and who calculated the eclipse of 
1778 with accuracy, he was also able to read and 
write in Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, and Ital- 
ianT/ He carried to Congress in 1775 a reputation 
for great literary acquirements. John Adams notes 
in his diary that " Duane says Jefferson is the 
greatest rubber off of dust that he ever met with; 
that he has learned French, Italian and Spanish 
and wants to learn German." Jefferson s political 
opponents a few years later questioned these ac- 

352 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

complishments and denied that he had more than 
a casual knowledge of other languages than French. 
Nevertheless we know that he read Homer, Virgil, 
Dante, and Cervantes in the original as readily as 
Shakespeare and Milton, and that he was reading 
the Greek tragedies the year of his death. He said 
that he derived more pleasure from his familiarity 
with Greek and Latin than from any other accom 
plishment, and that of all literature he " preferred 
the ancients." 

Unfortunately he was without a sense of humor. 
He rarely told a story and seldom enjoyed one, and 
witticisms were wasted in his presence. 

Early in life Jefferson formed a vocabulary 
of such objects as would have a name in every 
language because of their presence in every country 
and in every station of life. He carried on this work 
for many years in several languages and endeavored 
to persuade Ezra Stiles and Dr. Sibley to continue it 
until they had produced a dictionary covering the 
familiar words in all languages. He had a plan 
for spelling-reform so as to bring it nearer to 
the pronunciation of words. Dr. Franklin pro 
posed the addition of two or three new letters 
to the alphabet. Dr. Thornton threatened a re 
vision of the whole alphabet. Jefferson advocated 
the dropping of the letter " d" from such words 
as " judge," "bridge," "hedge," "knowledge," 
and the letter " u" from words ending in " our," 
such as " honour," " candour," " rigour," as after 
wards was done by common consent. In a letter to 
Madison he said : " Where strictness of grammar 
does not weaken expression it should be attended 
to. But where, by small grammatical negligence, 
the energy of an idea is condensed, or a word 
stands for a sentence, I hold grammatical rigor in 
contempt." 

2 3 353 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

While Jefferson was in Paris a visionary French 
man named Quesnay attempted to plant at Rich 
mond an Academy of Arts and Sciences with 
branches at New York, Baltimore, and Philadel 
phia. It was to be affiliated with the Royal So 
cieties of Europe, the French Academy, and other 
learned bodies for the advancement of science. 
Experts were to be sent from Paris and other 
European capitals each year to instruct the Ameri 
can youth and at the same time to advise the gov 
ernment in the development of the resources of the 
country. They were to serve on scientific com 
missions, either for the State or the National 
authorities or for private corporations in inves 
tigation and exploration and in any other duty 
requiring scientific knowledge. The Academy was 
to receive one-half of their fees for such services, 
and they were to be assisted without charge by 
the students, who would thus have the benefit of 
practical experience in the natural sciences, chem 
istry, botany, mineralogy, forestry, and engineer 
ing. 

Quesnay had come from France with Lafay 
ette during the Revolution and had served with 
distinction for two years as an engineer, but his 
health was so delicate that he was compelled to 
retire from the army. He was well known, there 
fore, to most of the Revolutionary leaders, and 
with their aid and encouragement raised sixty 
thousand francs by subscription and erected in the 
centre of Richmond a building which has long 
since disappeared. The corner-stone was laid with 
great ceremony, a board of councillors was organ 
ized with Jefferson as president, and Quesnay re 
turned to Paris to carry out that end of the scheme. 
Through the endorsement of Jefferson and the 
Marquis de Lafayette he was received with favor 
354 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

by the several scientific organizations of France, 
and his list of associates embraced the most dis 
tinguished savants of the country, which at that 
time was the centre of learning. He had obtained 
but one professor for his faculty when his bril 
liant scheme was overwhelmed by the French 
Revolution, and Quesnay disappeared into obliv 
ion. Jefferson makes no further reference to him 
in his letters and his fate remains a mystery. The 
building at Richmond, however, was completed 
and served as a Capitol for the new State. Several 
patriotic conventions met there, and it was the 
scene of many interesting incidents, including the 
speeches of Patrick Henry. 

Jefferson afterwards proposed to Joel Barlow 
the foundation of a National Academy similar to 
the Institute of France with head-quarters at 
Washington and branches in each State, hoping 
to secure by cooperation the financial assistance 
of the government and greater results for the bene 
fit of science than by individual efforts. This was 
the essence of " Paternalism," to which as a demo 
crat he objected on theory, but which, as a demo 
crat, he advocated and defended as promoting the 
intelligence and education and therefore the pros 
perity, the happiness, and the welfare of the peo 
ple. 

In his own scientific work Jefferson was inac 
curate, impractical, and visionary; as a patron of 
science he was zealous, industrious, and benevo 
lent. His inquisitive mind sought for the truth 
in every direction, but his fertile imagination sug 
gested deductions that were sometimes absurd and 
often fantastic.j As minister to France, Secretary 
of State, Vice-President, President, and after 
wards in his retirement he never lost an opportu 
nity to promote a scientific inquiry or add a new 

355 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

fact to the information of mankind. His strict 
construction of the Constitution and narrows views 
upon the subject of State rights never prevented 
him from using the authority and money of the 
Federal Government for the advancement of sci 
ence or the diffusion of knowledge. Equally gen 
erous with his private means and the labor of his 
brain and hand, he was continually contriving or 
suggesting something that would economize the 
strength and increase the productive power of 
mankind. 

Not long after coming of age he set on foot a 
public improvement of importance to his neigh 
borhood. The river Rivanna, that flowed through 
his farm, although a considerable stream, was so 
obstructed as to be useless for navigation. He 
examined its channel, and perceiving that it could 
be cleared for twenty-two miles without great 
expense, collected funds for that purpose, super 
vised the work, and enabled his neighbors to float 
the produce of their farms to market at a nominal 
cost, where before they had been compelled to haul 
it in wagons. 

While grading the top of Monticello for his 
house he noticed that some of the workmen used 
wheelbarrows with one wheel and others those with 
two wheels, so he took pencil, paper, and watch 
in hand to ascertain which was the more advan 
tageous. He found that Julius Shard in three min 
utes filled a two-wheeled barrow which held four 
times as much as that with one wheel, and wheeled 
it thirty yards in a minute and a half, the same 
time required to move the one-wheeled barrow 
the same distance. As the two-wheeled barrow 
was thus four times the better, he ordered it used 
thereafter. 

He once told a grandson that from the time 
356 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

when, as a boy, he had turned off wearied from 
play and first found pleasure in books, he had 
never sat down in idleness. His greed for knowl 
edge was insatiable, and he eagerly seized all means 
of obtaining it. It was his habit, in his inter 
course with all classes of men, the mechanic as 
well as the man of science, to turn the conver 
sation upon that subject with which his companion 
was best acquainted, whether it was farming, shoe- 
making, astronomy, the anatomy of the human 
body, or the theory of an extinct species of ani 
mals. Having drawn all the information his com 
panion possessed, he noted it down in his memo 
randum-book, arranging it methodic lly and fixing 
it in his mind. Mathematics was* his favorite 
study. " We have no theories ther-e," he used to 
say, " no uncertainties remain on the mind ; all 
is demonstration and satisfaction." While in Paris 
he studied balloon ascensions with great care, and 
wrote several lengthy papers upon what he calls 
" the aeronautical art." He advocated the appli 
cation of chemistry to the common affairs of life. 
" I have wished to see chemistry applied to do 
mestic objects, to malting, brewing, making cider, 
bread, butter, cheese, soap, and the incubation of 
eggs," he said. 

Jefferson was the first to introduce into America 
"the threshing machine, which may be moved by 
water or horses." " Fortunately the workman who 
made it, a mill wright, is come in the same vessel 
to America," he says. " I have written to per 
suade him to go on immediately to Richmond, 
offering him the use of my model to exhibit, and 
to give him letters to get him into immediate em 
ploy in making them." While he was in Europe 
he endeavored to discover the secrets of the French 
perfumery manufacturers, and frequently inter- 

357 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

viewed chemists on that subject, hoping to intro 
duce the art into Virginia. An English writer 
who saw much of him while he was at the head 
of the legation in Paris testifies that he was " al- 
w.ays on the lookout for new ideas to send home." 

The Marquis de Chastellux found Jefferson pro 
ficient in natural sciences, particularly in meteor 
ology. v He had made, in conjunction with Pro 
fessor Madison, of William and Mary, a series 
of observations of the ruling winds at Williams- 
burg and Monticello, and discovered that while 
the northeas ; wind had blown one hundred and 
twenty-seven^ times at Williamsburg, it had blown 
but thirty-tvijty times at Monticello. He kept a 
record of the weather, the temperature, the rain, 
and the wind for nearly half a century, and it can 
be found in his note-books. Among his scientific 
instruments at Monticello he had pedometers, mi 
croscopes, theodolites, telescopes, thermometers, 
protractors, hydrometers, botanical microscopes, 
an air-pump, electrical batteries, and magnetic 
needles. 

Jefferson had more or less knowledge of anat 
omy, civil engineering, physics, mechanics, meteor 
ology, astronomy, architecture, and botany. He 
was so familiar with every subject discussed by 
ordinary men and talked so fluently and with such 
confidence that the people of Virginia considered 
him a monument of learning. The story goes 
that on one occasion, while stopping at an inn, 
he spent an evening with a stranger from the 
North, a highly educated man, who was so charmed 
with his conversation and amazed at his learning 
that he inquired of the landlord who his companion 
might be. " When he spoke of law," said the 
stranger, " I thought he was a lawyer ; when he 
talked about mechanics, I was sure he was an 

358 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

engineer; when he got into medicine, it was evi 
dent that he was a physician; when he discussed 
theology, I was convinced that he must be a clergy 
man; when he talked of literature, I made up my 
mind that I had run against a college professor 
who knew everything." 

Many of the theories which Jefferson accepted 
and advanced have since been rejected by modern 
science, but in several lines of inquiry he was 
ahead of his age in reading and investigation, 
and was quite in advance of contemporary scholars 
on this side of the Atlantic because of his oppor 
tunities of study in France. He attempted at one 
time to dispute Newton s theory of the rainbow. 
He was very credulous for a man of his learning 
and experience, and among other things accepted 
the theory that the Creek Indians of Georgia were 
the descendants of Dido s Carthaginian^ and that 
their ancestors had been sailors of Hanno s lost 
fleet. He believed and frequently recited a story 
told him by a fur trader that on the Upper Mis 
souri River, near the mouth of the Yellowstone, 
there was a mountain of pure salt eighty miles 
long and forty miles wide. He believed that there 
was a large herd of mammoths wandering wild 
in the Mississippi Valley, and had several other 
fantastic ideas concerning the resources of the 
Louisiana Territory. 

Jefferson had a very poor opinion of geology. 
Of all the sciences he took the least interest in it, 
because in his judgment it had " a limited useful 
ness." He "could not see any practical impor 
tance in knowing whether the earth was six thou 
sand or six million years old, and the different 
formations were of no consequence so long as 
they were not composed of coal, iron, or other 
useful minerals." " The skin deep scratches which 

359 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

we can make or find on the surface of the earth," 
he said, "do not repay our time with as certain 
and useful deductions as the pursuit of some other 
branches." He wrote a great deal on palaeontology, 
however, even before it was recognized as a sci 
ence. He was curious about petrifactions and 
fossils, and in discussing those that came under 
his observation advanced theories, perhaps acci 
dental, that have since been fully substantiated. 
He contended that many animals then unknown 
to zoology were wandering wild in the Louisiana 
Territory upon the prairies and in the mountains, 
and to the end of life hoped that the explorers 
would bring into captivity one of the gigantic 
creatures whose bones he had examined with such 
interest, in order that he might have an oppor 
tunity of seeing him alive. " Such is the economy 
of nature," he wrote, " that no instance can be 
produced of her having permitted any race of her 
animals to become extinct." 

He had other amusing theories, which, however, 
were at that day maintained by the leading minds 
of Europe and were readily accepted by the far 
mer-lawyer of Virginia. He collected a large 
amount of data by personal inquiry and investi 
gation to prove that cold and moisture rather 
than heat and dryness increased the size of ani 
mals; that the largest animals were found in the 
coldest climates. This was contrary to the facts 
as known at that time. The largest animals then 
known to natural history were elephants and 
camels, whose habitat was the torrid zone of 
Asia and Africa, while in the arctics seals and 
polar bears and walruses only were found. But 
Jefferson stubbornly insisted that there must be 
undiscovered beasts among the ice-bound regions 
of the earth that would exceed in size anything 

360 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

in the tropics, because cold and moisture must 
necessarily increase their growth, and, curiously 
enough, the largest prehistoric mammals have been 
found buried in the snows of Siberia. He prepared 
a table giving a list of the twenty-six quadrupeds 
common to both Europe and America. Of these 
seven were found larger in America than in 
Europe, seven of equal size, but the data concern 
ing the other twelve was not convincing. He 
wrote a long and labored article to prove that the 
domestic animals of Europe were larger and 
heavier than those of America, but predicted that 
the latter would improve and reach an equal size 
with care and proper food. 

With rash generalization and hasty judgment, 
based upon his own limited experience and obser 
vation, he entered into a controversy with a cele 
brated French naturalist to prove that the animals 
in America were superior to those of Europe in 
strength and general utility. 

Every bold and novel theory controverting con 
ventional ideas was fascinating to Jefferson, 
whether it related to politics, religion, or science. 
He was a daring experimenter; he loved to de 
velop theories and follow them into new lines. 
He had a controversy in France concerning the 
origin of the marine shells that are found on the 
summits of mountains. Were they deposited by 
the flood of Noah, or had the earth risen from 
the sea in volcanic convulsion, or did they grow 
like crystals by virtue of the same force in nature 
that shaped stones into fantastic forms? The 
theory of shell growth was popular. It was 
advocated by Voltaire, who denied the Biblical 
account of the creation; but Jefferson, with un 
usual caution, declined to commit himself, and ad 
vised his friends to postpone final judgment until 

361 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

they had further light on the subject. He was 
proud of his attainments in natural history, and 
particularly of their recognition by the great natu 
ralist, Buffon, to whom he sent specimens and 
information. With the flattery of a French cour 
tier, Buffon wrote Jefferson, " I should have con 
sulted you, sir, before publishing my natural his 
tory and then I should have been sure of the 
facts." This so exalted his appreciation of his 
ability in that direction that he was shortly after 
led into a mortifying error. 

In Greenbriar County, Virginia, in 1796, a de 
posit of bones, supposed to be those of a mam 
moth, were found and sent to Monticello, where 
Jefferson set them up and pronounced them to be 
those of " a carnivorous clawed animal entirely 
unknown to science." A curious sight might have 
been witnessed by people who lived along the 
route of travel between Monticello and Philadel 
phia when the Vice-President of the United States, 
on his way to take the oath of office and assume 
the second place in the gift of the nation, carried 
a wagon-load of bones for his baggage. He de 
livered them to Dr. Wistar, the naturalist of the 
American Philosophical Society, with a labored 
report under date of March 10, 1797, entitled, 
" A Memoir of the Discovery of Certain Bones 
of an Unknown Quadruped, of the Clawed Kind, 
in the Western Part of Virginia." 

Dr. Wistar at a glance pronounced them the 
bones of the common sloth, or " giant edentate," 
and showed Jefferson other specimens of the same 
sort. The Vice-President was greatly humiliated, 
and the scientist called it " Megalonyx Jeffersonii," 
a name by which the animal has since been known 
to naturalists. Fortunately for his sensitive na 
ture, Jefferson s lack of humor prevented him from 

362 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

recognizing the satire. The bones are still ex 
hibited at the Academy of Natural Sciences at 
Philadelphia. 

In 1 80 1, during the exciting contest over the 
Presidency, we find him carrying on a learned 
correspondence with Dr. Wistar over some bones 
of a mammoth that were discovered in Ulster 
County, New York; and in 1808, when the ex 
citement over the embargo of commerce and the 
complications with Great Britain were at their 
height, he had a carload of specimens from the 
Big Bone Lick spread over the floors of the White 
House. Dr. Wistar came over from Philadelphia, 
selected what he wanted for the American Philo 
sophical Society, and Jefferson sent the rest of 
the bones to Paris. 

About this time William Cullen Bryant, who 
was just beginning to send verses to the news 
papers, wrote a satirical poem on the President s 
passion for natural history: 

" Go, wretch, resign the presidential chair, 
Disclose thy secret measures, foul or fair. 
Go ! Search with curious eyes for horned frogs, 
Mid the wild wastes of Louisianian bogs; 
Or where the Ohio rolls its turbid streams, 
Dig for huge bones, thy glory and thy theme." 

Jefferson s plan for building a navy was fan 
tastic. He proposed the partial construction of a 
large number of ships, to be left unfinished on the 
stocks in different harbors along the Atlantic coast 
until such a time as they might be needed, when, 
according to his theory, half the time necessary 
to build complete ships could be saved, and half 
the expense of construction could be avoided by 
not completing them until there was occasion for 
their use. Furthermore, the government could 
save the interest on the money they would cost 

363 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

and take advantage of progress in nautical science 
and the improvements made in machinery and 
equipment in the meantime. This idea seems to 
have been suggested to him during a visit to 
Venice, where, he says, " there were then ships 
lying on their original stocks ready for launching 
at any moment which had been so for eighty 
years." He reasoned out this plan in great detail, 
and had a model made and exhibited at the Presi 
dent s house, but, he says, " the advocates of a 
navy did not fancy it. Ridicule was also resorted 
to, which is the ordinary substitute for reason 
when that fails. Having no end in view in this 
proposition but to combine for the public a pro 
vision for defense with economy for its preserva 
tion, I have thought no more of it since." 

Jefferson was one of the earliest believers in sub 
marine boats and torpedoes, and in letters to Robert 
Fulton in 1807 advocated the education of "a 
corps of young men trained to such a service." 
^Jefferson was the father of fast mails. While 
Secretary of State he performed the duties now 
intrusted to the Postmaster-General, and arranged 
with Colonel Pickering to carry out a dashing 
scheme of sending the mail at the furious rate 
of one hundred miles a day. His idea was that 
public coaches could be utilized for the service; 
but as they only travelled by day, he wanted to 
send the mail along through the night by mounted 
carriers to catch a stage at a convenient point the 
next morning. "I opened to the President," he 
says, "a proposition for doubling the velocity of 
the post riders, who now travel about fifty miles 
a day who might without difficulty go a hundred." 

His knowledge of astronomy was probably as 
advanced as that of any layman of his generation. 
He had a decided taste for it, and enjoyed mathe- 

364 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

matical computations. In a letter to Melatiah Nash 
in 1811 he makes some suggestions as to the im 
provement of almanacs, and thinks it important 
that they include an equation of time, " which is 
essential to the regulation of our clocks and 
watches." 

He gives a learned account of the almanacs of 
antiquity and their astronomical features. He was 
equally interested in American antiquities, and 
while president of the Philosophical Society of 
Philadelphia, and afterwards President of the 
United States, encouraged the exploration of In 
dian mounds and other prehistoric relics in the 
Western country. 

He was deeply interested in arboriculture, and 
introduced several varieties of vines and trees from 
France. There was no limit to his services to 
the unskilled agriculture of his own country. In 
Charleston and Philadelphia there were agricultural 
societies to which he sent information, seeds, roots, 
nuts, and plants while he was in Europe. He tried 
to introduce olive culture into the Southern States, 
and returns again and again to this subject in his let 
ters. He saw the great usefulness of the olive-tree 
in Europe " because of its hardiness, its fruitfulness, 
the low quality of the soil in which it flourishes, 
and the agreeable flavor it imparts to many viands 
otherwise tasteless or disagreeable." The culture 
was begun with enthusiasm, but, whether from 
want of skill, perseverance, the unsuitableness of 
the climate, or excessive richness of the soil, the 
trees did not flourish. 

Rice was another of his agricultural hobbies. 
He sent to Charleston specimens of all the several 
kinds of rice sold in Paris. Seeing that the Ital 
ians cleaned their rice by mills similar to those 
used in South Carolina, he concluded that the 

365 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

Italian rice was of a better quality and desired 
to send seed to his friends. At that time no one 
was allowed to send rice-seed out of Italy. Fall 
ing back on what he terms " the higher law," Jef 
ferson induced a muleteer to run a couple of sacks 
across the Apennines. Having no faith in the 
muleteer s honesty, he filled the pockets of his coat 
and overcoat with the best rice of Italy. The 
muleteer failed to reappear, but the small store 
from his pockets reached the president of the Ag 
ricultural Society of South Carolina, who distrib 
uted it among the planters, a dozen or more grains 
to each. These were carefully sown and watched, 
and were the origin of our present staple, the best 
rice in the world. 

Jefferson was a "book" farmer. In arranging 
his system he betrayed a mathematical taste. He 
divided his cultivated lands into four farms of 
two hundred and eighty acres each, and each farm 
into seven fields of forty acres, marking the boun 
daries by rows of peach-trees. He set out eleven 
hundred and fifty-one trees during his first year 
at home after retiring from the Presidency. The 
seven fields indicated his system of rotation of 
crops, which embraced seven years; first year, 
wheat; second, corn; third, peas or potatoes; 
fourth, vetches ; fifth, wheat again ; sixth and sev 
enth, clover. Each of the four farms under its 
own overseer was cultivated by four negroes, four 
negresses, four horses, and four oxen, but at har 
vest and other busy times the working forces of 
all were concentrated. 

He had a threshing-machine imported from 
Scotland, where it was newly invented, the first 
ever seen in Virginia. It answered its purpose 
so well that all the planters in the neighborhood 
sent for machines or had them made at home. 

366 




C * -* 

X^CALIFOK} 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

"This machine is conveyed from one farm to 
another in a wagon, and threshes from 120 to 
150 bushels a day," Jefferson reports, and refers 
also to " a machine for sowing seed in rows in 
vented in the neighborhood," with the performance 
of which the master of Monticello was well pleased. 

In his autobiography Jefferson says that one of 
his " passions" was architecture, and his genius, or 
rather his classical taste, can be seen in the build 
ings of the University of Virginia, which he copied 
from the finest models in Greece. In addition to 
Monticello he designed the residences of several 
of his neighbors, and his skill is seen in several 
of the symmetrical mansions built in the colonial 
period of Virginia, particularly at Lower Brandon, 
the home of the Harrisons on the lower James. 

He planned the Capitol of Virginia and also a 
prison for that State, the latter being based upon 
"a well contrived device on the principle of soli 
tary confinement" which he saw in Lyons, France. 
The Capitol, he says, was modelled upon " the 
Maison Quarree of Nismes, one of the most beau 
tiful, if not the most beautiful and precious morsel 
of architecture left us by antiquity. It was built 
by Caius and Lucius Caesar, and repaired by Louis 
XIV., and has the suffrage of all the judges of 
architecture who have seen it, as yielding to no 
one of the beautiful monuments of Greece, Rome, 
Palmyra and Balbec, which late travellers have 
communicated to us. It is very simple, but it 
is noble beyond expression." 

He was deeply interested in the construction of 
the Capitol at Washington, and was one of the 
judges who considered the plans submitted by 
various competitors for the honor of constructing 
the building. Thornton s plan, he said, "cap 
tivated the eyes and the judgment of all," and 

367 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

he writes Latrobe, the architect, who restored the 
building after it was destroyed by the British army : 
" I shall live in the hope that the day will come 
when an opportunity will be given you of finishing 
the middle building in a style worthy of the two 
wings, and worthy of the first temple dedicated to 
the sovereignty of the people, embellishing with 
Athenian taste the course of a nation looking far 
beyond the range of Athenian destinies." 

Jefferson was sceptical as to the science of medi 
cine, and discussed the subject with the same inter 
est that he did theology and politics. He believed 
in a vegetable diet and in permitting nature to 
" reestablish order" in the human system when 
any of its organs or functions were deranged. 
" Experience," he says, " teaches that there are 
certain substances by which, applied to the living 
body, internally or externally, nature can be as 
sisted, and thus accomplish in a short time what 
nature would do slowly. So far," he continues, 
" I bow to the utility of medicine, but here the 
judicious, the moral, the humane physician should 
stop. But the adventuresome physician goes on 
and substitutes presumption for knowledge. He 
forms his table of nosology, arrays his diseases 
into families, and extends his curative treatment 
by analogy to all the cases he has thus arbitrarily 
marshalled together." 

While he was Secretary of State Jefferson wrote 
his daughter concerning the treatment of her baby, 
who was ill. " Let me beseech you," he says, 
"not to destroy the powers of her stomach with 
medicine. Nature alone can reestablish infant 
organs, only taking care that her efforts be not 
thwarted by imprudence of diet." 

Dr. Dunglison, one of the imported professors 
at the University, who treated him when he was 

368 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

ill, and was with him when he died, says : " He 
often told me that he would rather trust to the 
unaided or rather uninterfered with efforts of na 
ture, than to physicians in general. It is not/ 
he was wont to observe, to physics I object so 
much as to physicians." In the presence of Dr. 
Everett, afterwards private secretary to President 
Monroe, he remarked that whenever he saw three 
physicians together, he looked up to discover 
whether there was not a turkey buzzard in the 
neighborhood. But whatever may have been Mr. 
Jefferson s notions of physics and physicians, it 
is but justice to say that he was one of the most 
attentive and respectful of patients. He bore suffer 
ing inflicted upon him for remedial purposes with 
fortitude; and in my visits showed me by memo 
randa the regularity with which he had taken pre 
scribed remedies at the appointed times." 

Notwithstanding this scepticism in medical sci 
ence, Jefferson was all his life a curious inquirer 
into such subjects, and could, upon an emergency, 
sew up an ugly wound or set a negro s brokeif 
leg. Delicacy of touch and dexterity of hand, 
joined to his fearlessness and patience of investi 
gation, Dr. Dunglison says, would have made him 
a master in surgery. Convinced of the utility of 
inoculation for small-pox then performed by Dr. 
Shippen, of Philadelphia, he submitted to vacci 
nation, one of the first prominent men in America 
to do so. 

Jefferson availed himself of every opportunity 
to get information concerning the languages of 
the Indians of North America, and made a collec 
tion of their vocabularies, intending at leisure to 
analyze them and trace their derivation. When 
he left Washington, after vacating the Presidential 
chair, these valuable papers were packed with other 
24 369 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

documents in a trunk, and with the rest of his 
baggage sent around by Richmond, whence they 
were to be shipped by boat up the James and 
Rivanna Rivers to Monticello. Two negro boat 
men took it for granted that the ex-President was 
returning from office with untold wealth, and sup 
posing by the weight of the trunk that it contained 
silver or gold, broke it open. The papers were 
scattered to the winds, and thus was lost Jefferson s 
valuable collection of philology. 

His interest in the unexplored West was intense. 
He never tired of listening to frontiersmen who 
had visited the prairies and the mountains, and 
his high estimate of the value of the resources of 
the country west of the Mississippi River caused 
him to be ridiculed for credulity, though it was 
trifling compared with the actual truth. It was 
Jefferson who encouraged Astor to invade the 
Northwest for trade, a scheme as feasible as it 
was audacious, but the War of 1812 interfered. 
It is interesting to observe, in view of the present 
importance of the silver deposits in the mountains, 
that in 1808 the secret of their existence "seven 
teen hundred miles from St. Louis" was confided 
to the President, who writes to Gallatin: "I en 
close for your information the account of a silver 
mine to fill your treasury." 

As a member of the American Philosophical 
Society, of Philadelphia, Jefferson took the lead 
in 1792 in raising a thousand guineas to send 
Andrew Michaud across the continent to find out 
something about the great plains and rivers, the 
Indians and the animals, the bones of the mam 
moth, and whatever else a Philosophical Society 
and an American people might care to know. Mi 
chaud did not find the Pacific Ocean. That honor 
was left for Jefferson s future private secretary. 

37o 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

It was Jefferson, too, who encouraged the two 
expeditions of Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery 
Pike, who named the peak he discovered. Pike 
was the first American to explore the Upper Mis 
sissippi beyond the Falls of St. Anthony, shaking 
hands on the way with " Monsieur Dubuque," the 
lead-miner, who exercised despotic authority over 
a wide dominion. Pike was the first American 
to explore the Valley of the Arkansas and enter 
New Mexico, where the Spanish governor threw 
him into jail as a filibuster and revolutionist. It 
was Jefferson who sent Meriwether Lewis and 
William Clarke to the sources of the Missouri, 
across the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia 
River, and down the Columbia until they reached 
the Pacific. Counting from the time when Captain 
John Smith sailed up the Chickahominy in search 
of the South Sea, the world had waited two hun 
dred years for the knowledge they brought back. 
Never was a piece of work of that kind better done 
or better chronicled. Jefferson selected the two 
heroes who conducted it. Captain Lewis was his 
own private secretary, the son of one of his most 
esteemed Albemarle neighbors. Lieutenant Clarke 
was a brother of General George Rogers Clarke, 
who kept the Indians from aiding the British in the 
War of the Revolution. Both were masters of the 
frontier arts, so that the perilous expedition of two 
years and a half was to them a holiday excursion. 
Returning to St. Louis laden with spoils and tro 
phies, Captain Lewis, besides his journals and other 
official results, sent the President " sixty-seven 
specimens of earth, salt and mineral, and sixty 
specimens of plants." 

Jefferson was the author of the coinage system 
of the United States. As chairman of the Com 
mittee on Currency of the First Congress he recom- 

371 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

mended the use of decimals in the notation of 
money in preference to the awkward pound-shill- 
ing-and-pence of the mother country. Gouverneur 
Morris, afterwards minister to France, then in the 
banking-house of Robert Morris, chairman of the 
Finance Committee, originally conceived the idea, 
which Jefferson readily accepted, and proposed the 
dollar as the unit and the largest silver coin; a 
gold coin of ten-dollars value, a silver coin of 
the value of one-tenth of a dollar, and a copper 
coin of the value of one hundredth of a dollar. He 
suggested three other coins for the convenience of 
making change, a silver half dollar, a silver dou 
ble tenth, and a copper twentieth. It remained 
only to invent easy names for these coins, which 
was done in due time. This currency was not 
adopted without vigorous persistence on the part 
of Jefferson, both in and out of Congress. Robert 
Morris, the first man of America at that time in 
matters of finance, opposed the suggestion because 
people were familiar with the English money and 
did not want a change. Jefferson desired to apply 
the decimal system to all measures. " When I 
travel," he says, " I use an odometer, which di 
vides the miles into cents, and I find everyone 
comprehends a distance readily when stated to 
him in miles and cents; so he would in feet and 
cents, pounds and cents." 

On the 2d of September, 1790, we find this entry 
in his account-book : 

"pd Leslie for an odometer ioD. 
Diary of journey to Monticello 
Set out from Philadelphia." 

Then follows a table setting forth the name of 
each village through which he passed, its distance 
from the last stopping-place, the number of revo- 

372 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

lutions of the wheels of his phaeton, which were 
registered by the odometer, and, for a part of the 
distance, the time consumed in running from sta 
tion to station, the character of the country, whether 
level or hilly, and of the soil, whether loam, clay, 
gravel, sand, stumpy, stony, and the places where 
he breakfasted, dined, and lodged, are all noted in 
the margin. 

Had Jefferson s advice been followed our tables 
of measures to-day would be : " Ten points one line ; 
ten lines one inch ; ten inches one foot ; ten feet one 
decad ; ten decads one rood ; ten roods one fur 
long; ten furlongs one mile." But this was too 
novel and audacious for Congress to accept. 

The mint at Philadelphia was established on 
Jefferson s recommendation when he was Secretary 
of State. Until then our coins were struck in 
Europe. " Coinage is peculiarly an attribute of 
sovereignty," he said. " To transfer its exercise 
to another country is to submit it to another sover 
eign." So a mint was opened at Philadelphia, 
workmen were invited from abroad, and a quantity 
of copper ordered from Europe to be made into 
American cents. 

Among the many curious relics of his tireless, 
minute industry which have been preserved to this 
day is a small, well-worn leather-bound manuscript 
volume of one hundred and five pages, entitled 
" Parliamentary Pocket Book," begun by him when 
he was a young lawyer, expecting soon to be a 
member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 
Upon this work, which contained the substance 
of ancient parliamentary law and usage, while he 
was Vice-President he gradually constructed his 
" Manual of Parliamentary Practice" which still 
governs deliberative bodies. After amending and 
adding to it for four years, aided by the learning 

373 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

and experience of his ancient master in the law, 
George Wythe, he left it in manuscript to the 
United States Senate, " as the standard by which 
he had judged, and was willing to be judged." 

Soon after the organization of the government, 
Congress authorized the Secretary of State to 
issue patents for inventions, hence Thomas Jeffer 
son is often referred to as the Father of the 
Patent Office. He took great pride in this duty 
but felt the full responsibility, because he had 
doubts concerning the constitutionality of the prac 
tice, and, particularly, because the new law was 
founded upon the patent system of the British, 
whom he despised. He gave personal considera 
tion to every application for a patent that was 
filed between 1790 and 1793. In those days the 
granting of a patent was an event that resembled 
in importance and public apprehension the organi 
zation of a trust a century later, and was the sub 
ject of similar comment and criticism. Able law 
yers questioned the authority of the government 
to grant monopolies or protect a citizen in the 
manufacture of an article of his own invention, 
and it became a political issue. Jefferson took 
the ground that " if nature has made any one 
thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive 
property, it is the action of the thinking power 
called an idea, which an individual may exclusively 
possess as long as he keeps it to himself. But the 
moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the 
possession of every one and the receiver can not 
dispossess himself of it. Inventions can not in 
nature be a subject of property. Society may give 
an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, 
as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which 
may produce utility, but this may or may not be 
according to the will and convenience of society 

374 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

without claim or complaint from anybody." Act 
ing in behalf of " society," Congress, assumed the 
authority, and Jefferson exercised it with great 
caution. 

It is a matter of tradition, handed down to us 
from generation to generation by those who loved 
to speak of Jefferson and his virtues and eccen 
tricities, that when an application was made he 
would summon General Knox, of Massachusetts, 
who was Secretary of War, and Edmund Ran 
dolph, of Virginia, who was Attorney-General, 
those officials having been designated by the act 
with the Secretary of State as a tribunal to grant 
patents; that these three distinguished gentlemen 
would examine the application critically, carefully 
scrutinizing each point of the specifications and 
claim. The result was that during the first year 
a majority of the applications were rejected. Only 
three patents were granted, Jefferson seeking 
always to impress upon the minds of the officials 
and the public that the act was of no ordinary 
importance. During the year 1791 thirty-three 
patents were granted, in 1792 eleven, and in 1793 
twenty, making only sixty-seven in all under Jef 
ferson s interpretation of the original law. The 
first patent issued was to Samuel Hopkins, July 
31, 1790, for "Making Pot and Pearl Ashes." 
It was signed by George Washington, President, 
Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, and Ed 
mund Randolph, Attorney-General. 

The narrow construction placed upon the law 
by Secretary Jefferson caused a revision in 1793 
notwithstanding his endeavors to prevent it. He 
held in numerous arguments made before Congress 
that the promiscuous granting of patents or mo 
nopolies in any art or industry was not only against 
the theory of popular government, but would be 

375 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

pernicious in its consequences. Furthermore, it 
was in the interest of New England. It was advo 
cated by the Federalists, and that was enough to 
excite his suspicions and opposition. General 
Washington was in favor of a broad patent law. 
" I can not forbear," he says, in a message to 
Congress, " intimating to you the expediency of 
giving effectual encouragement as well to the in 
troduction of new and useful inventions from 
abroad, as to the execution of skill and genius in 
producing them at home. 7 With the influence of 
Washington and the growing interest in manu 
facturing industries the original act was enlarged 
and made more liberal in spite of Jefferson s ob 
jections, who, under the new law of 1793, con 
strued the issue of a patent as a mere ministerial 
act, and said : " Instead of revising a patent in the 
.first instance, as the board was formerly authorized 
to do, the patent is now issued of course, subject 
to be declared void on such principles as may be 
established by the courts of law. The previous 
refusal of a patent would better guard our citizens 
against harassments by law suits, but England 
had given it to her judges, and the usual pre 
dominancy of her example carried it to ours." 

From 1790 to 1812 inventive genius in the 
United States was directed almost wholly to agri 
cultural and commercial objects, but the embargo 
that preceded the war in England forced the peo 
ple into branches of manufacture hitherto almost 
entirely neglected, and the result of this was the 
most rapid and radical and remarkable develop 
ment of human ingenuity ever known to any age 
or nation. 

One of the first applications rejected by Secre 
tary Jefferson was filed by one Isaacs for a patent 
for an alleged discovery of a method of converting 

376 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

sea water into fresh water. Not satisfied with his 
own examination of the process, he invited the 
enterprising Isaacs to try his hand upon a bucket 
of salt water in the presence of the members of 
the Philadelphia Philosophical Society. The proc 
ess proved to be mere distillation (known and 
practised for many years) veiled by a little hocus- 
pocus of Isaacs s own contriving. Jefferson re 
ported against the claim, and advised that a short 
account of the best way of extemporizing a still 
on board ship be printed on the back of all ships 
clearances with an invitation to send the results of 
such experiments to the Secretary of State. 

One of Jefferson s last acts before leaving the 
Department of State was to issue a patent to Eli 
Whitney for the cotton-gin. He was very quick 
to perceive the value of this the first of the great 
inventions in America, and which is universally 
considered one of the most important in the early 
history of human ingenuity. In acknowledging 
the receipt of the application Jefferson took Whit 
ney into his confidence and made several personal 
and pertinent inquiries in his official communica 
tion. He wrote : " As the state of Virginia, of 
which I am, carries on manufactures of cotton 
to a great extent, as I also do myself and as one 
of our greatest embarrassments is the cleaning 
of the cotton of the seed, I feel a considerable 
interest in the success of your invention, for fam 
ily use. Permit me therefore to ask information 
from you on these points. Has the machine been 
thoroughly tried in the ginning of cotton, or is 
it yet but a machine of theory? What quantity 
has it cleaned on an average of several days, and 
worked by hand, and by how many hands ? What 
will be the cost of one of them made to be worked 
by hand? Favorable answers to these questions 

377 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

would induce me to engage one of them to be 
forwarded to Richmond for me." 

In reply Whitney gives an interesting account 
of the history of his cotton-gin, and says that 
at the time it was invented he had never seen a 
machine of any kind for ginning cotton, but, in 
the following spring, he learned from a Savannah 
newspaper that a man named Pearce, of New 
Jersey, had invented one, and "has since under 
stood that his improvement was only a multipli 
cation of the small rollers used in the common 
gin." Whitney speaks modestly of the device 
which was to revolutionize the cotton trade, assures 
Jefferson that it is "well calculated for family 
use," and " will cleanse all the cotton which any 
one family manufactures for its own use." 

Although he was doubtful as to the constitution 
ality of the patent law and was always suspicious 
of being imposed upon, Jefferson conscientiously 
paid royalty to a man named Evans for the use 
of " elevators, conveyors and hopper boys" that 
were used in his mill at Monticello. At the same 
time he wrote a lengthy letter to a correspondent 
whom he " had not the pleasure of knowing per 
sonally" to prove that Evans was not entitled to 
his patent because the same system was in use in 
Egypt from the beginning of time, and had been 
found by a Dr. Shaw " at Cairo in a well 264 feet 
deep, which the inhabitants believed to have been 
a work of the patriarch Joseph." In this letter 
Jefferson shows great erudition by tracing the 
development of the elevator as used for water 
or grain, and gives numerous instances where the 
process was known in Persia and " in other coun 
tries inhabited by the ancients." He also gives 
his ideas on the subject of patent rights with great 
clearness. 

378 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

" I assume it is a lemma," he says, " that it is 
the invention of the machine itself which is to give 
a patent right and not the application of it to any 
particular purpose of which it is susceptible. If 
one person invents a knife convenient for pointing 
our pens, another can not have a patent right for 
the same knife to point our pencils. A compass 
was invented for navigation at Sea; another can 
not have a patent right for using it to serve on 
land. A machine for threshing wheat has been 
invented in Scotland ; a second person can not get 
a patent right for the same machine to thresh oats, 
a third rye, a fourth peas and a fifth clover." 

" As a member of the patent board for several 
years, while the law authorized the board to grant 
or refuse patents, I saw with what slow progress 
a system of general rules could be matured. Some, 
however, were established by that board. One of 
these was that a machine of which we were pos 
sessed might be applied by every man to any use 
of which it is susceptible, and that this right ought 
not to be taken from him and given to a monopoly 
because he first, perhaps had occasion to apply it 
Thus a screw for crushing plaster might be em 
ployed for crushing grain, and a chain pump for 
raising water might be used for raising wheat, 
this being merely a change of application. Another 
rule was that the change of material should not 
give title to a patent: as the making the plough 
share of cast rather than wrought iron; a comb 
of iron instead of horn or ivory ; or the connecting 
of buckets by a band of leather rather than of 
hemp or iron. A third was that the mere change 
of form should give no right to a patent; as a 
high quarter shoe instead of a low one, a round 
hat instead of a three square or a square bucket 
instead of a round one; but for this rule all the 

379 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

changes of fashion in dress would have been under 
the tax of patentees." 

Jefferson was himself an inventor, although, con 
sistent to his belief in the natural right of all 
mankind to share useful improvements without 
restraint, he never applied for a patent. His first 
original device was a folding-chair, which he used 
to carry to church in early days when services were 
held in the court-house at Charlottesville and the 
seating conveniences were insufficient. His grand 
son tells us how he would " mount his horse early 
in the morning, during the latter years of his 
life, canter down the mountain and across the 
country to the site of the University, and spend 
a long day there, directing the work; carrying 
with him a walking stick of his own invention, 
now familiar to all, composed of three sticks, 
which being spread out and covered with a piece 
of cloth made a tolerable seat." Bacon, his over 
seer, in his reminiscences says : " His servant came 
with him and brought a seat, a kind of camp stool 
of his own invention. After Jefferson got old and 
feeble a servant used to go with him and carry 
that stool so that he could sit down while he was 
waiting for anybody, or attending to any work 
that was going on." 

It is also claimed that he invented the revolving 
chair, now a familiar and necessary article of fur 
niture in all offices and counting-rooms. The 
Federalist newspapers used to call it " Mr. Jeffer 
son s whirl-i-gig," and declared that he had in 
vented it " so as to look all ways at once." 

He also designed a light wagon or sulky with 
a comfortable seat and two wheels, with which 
he frequently drove around the country when he 
was too feeble to ride horseback. 

One of his inventions was a hemp-break, which, 
380 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

he says, " has long been wanted by the cultivators 
of hemp, and as soon as I can speak of its effect 
with certainty I shall describe it anonymously in 
the public papers, in order to forestall the preven 
tion of its use by some interloping patentee." 

He invented a pedometer to measure the dis 
tances he walked. He sent one to James Madison 
with the following explanatory letter : " To the 
loop at the bottom of it, you must sew a tape, 
and at the other end of the tape, a small hook. 
Cut a little hole in the bottom of your left watch 
pocket, pass the hook and tape through it, and 
down between the breeches and drawers, and fix 
the hook on the edge of your knee band, an inch 
from the knee buckle; then hook the instrument 
itself by its swivel hook, on the upper edge of 
your watch pocket. Your tape being well adjusted 
in length, your steps will be exactly measured by 
the instrument." 

His most important invention was a plough. 
Edward Bacon, his overseer, says : " He was very 
ingenious. He invented a plough that was con 
sidered a great improvement on any that had ever 
been used. He got a great many premiums and 
medals for it. He planned his own carriage, build 
ings, garden and fences and a good many other 
things. He was nearly always busy upon some 
plan or model." 

Jefferson s plough received a gold medal in 
France in 1790. During his European tours he 
had been struck with the waste of power caused 
by the bad construction of the ploughs in common 
use. The part of the plough called the "mould- 
board," which is above the share and turns over 
the earth, seemed to him the chief seat of error, 
and he spent many of the leisure hours of his last 
two years in France in evolving a mould-board 

381 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

which should offer the minimum of resistance. 
He sent the original design to the Royal Agri 
cultural Society of the Seine. The medal which 
they awarded for it followed the inventor to New 
York, and eighteen years afterwards the Society 
sent him a superb plough containing his improve 
ment. 

Mr. Jefferson s judgment concerning agricul 
tural machinery was so highly esteemed that he 
was frequently consulted by inventors, and Robert 
Mills, who filed the first application for a patent 
for a reaping-machine, submitted to him the model 
and the drawings before he sent them to the Patent 
Office. The following is an extract from Mr. 
Jefferson s letter to the inventor: 

" I have considered your plan of a reaping machine, which 
I consider as simple and promising, but experience has 
taught me never form an ultimate decision on a plan or 
model, or anything short of the actual experiment. 1 would 
make one observation on what will be easily corrected. The 
wheel E moves with exactly the velocity of the horse, i. e. 
about four f. in a second. The peripheries of D. & B with 
about y$ that velocity. The medium point of the scythe M 
with about double the last of 5^/3 ft in a second, which would 
not I think be sufficient to cut. I presume a scythe slung 
with a man s arm has nearly the double of that velocity. I 
salute you with esteem and attachment. 

"Tn. JEFFERSON." 

During his five years in Europe Jefferson kept 
four colleges, Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, 
and the College of Philadelphia, advised of all 
new inventions, discoveries, and publications that 
seemed to him important. It was he who sent 
to the United States the first announcement of 
the success of Watt s steam engine, by means] 
of which, he says, "a peck and a half of coal 
performs as much work as a horse in a day." 
He learned of this wonderful mechanism from 
Mr. Boulton, a partner of Watt, and as soon as 

382 



JEFFERSON S SERVICES TO SCIENCE 

he could be spared from Paris he crossed the 
Channel to London to see it in operation; but, 
much to his disappointment, he was not allowed 
to make a minute examination. He was permitted 
" to view the outward parts of the machinery, and 
can not tell whether the mill is turned by the 
steam immediately, or by a stream of water which 
the steam pumped up." He does not appear to 
have perceived the possibilities of this invention 
for motive power in manufacturing and large 
industries, but associated it in his mind with do 
mestic conveniences. He expresses a timid hope 
"that they may make it available for pumping 
water to the tops of houses for family use. Every 
family," he continues, " has a kitchen fire, small 
indeed, but sufficient for the purpose." 

He spent a great deal of time in Europe collect 
ing information about internal navigation, which 
was particularly welcome to the companies formed 
to utilize the Potomac and the James. 

He notified Congress of the invention by a 
French mechanic of a machine, now familiar to 
every workshop, " by which wheels and other parts 
of a watch or clock can be multiplied in dupli 
cate, as many as are desired, so exactly alike 
that one can be used in place of another without 
altering or fitting." " A similar machine," he said, 
had been made for the purpose of reproducing 
" the parts of a musket lock by hundreds or thou 
sands, or any number desired, so exact that they 
can be put together as neatly and exactly as if 
each had been made by hand of the same size 
and pattern, so that one part can be replaced by 
a duplicate at will." He wisely predicted the great 
utility of this invention in lessening the cost of 
articles of common use, and suggested that the 
principles should be applied to all manufactures. 

383 



IN CONCLUSION 

THOMAS JEFFERSON is perhaps the most pictur 
esque character in American history. He was 
longer in public life; he exercised a more potent 
and permanent influence upon his own and suc 
ceeding generations than any other man, not . 
excepting Washington; but his character and 
motives have been and always will be ^subjects 
of controversy. There is no difference of opinion 
as to the honesty and patriotism of Washington, 
Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, or Grant ; while Jeffer 
son is still extolled by some writers as the greatest 
and purest of statesmen and patriots, and by others 
denounced as a dangerous demagogue, unsound 
in his principles, insincere in his utterances, and dis 
honest in his acts. At the same time no public 
man ever left so much direct testimony in his 
own behalf. He was the most prolific of writers. 
There is scarcely a question in the entire range 
of human inquiry which he did not discuss; and 
his manuscripts were intentionally preserved and 
carefully arranged for the instruction of posterity. > 
He frequently changed his policy and programme, 
and took different views of the same subjects on 
different occasions, perhaps on the ancient theory 
that " a wise man often changes his mind, a fool 
never." , A distinguished member of the United 
States Senate of the Populist party, in a valedic 
tory address, declared that he had heard Thomas 
Jefferson quoted to sustain every side of every 
question that had been discussed in that body. 
This is not so much of an exaggeration as one 
unfamiliar with Jefferson s writings would sup- 

384 



IN CONCLUSION 

pose, but has not the Devil been known to quote 
Holy Scripture? 

Some of his political methods would not be tol 
erated at the present day, but the most searching 
investigations have never been able to convict 
Jefferson of using money to influence votes. His 
official diary, called " Anas," is a monument of 
human malice. Its pages, written in his own hand, 
have injured him more than the assaults of all his 
enemies. Yet no other public man ever endured 
such violent and prolonged attacks upon his pri 
vate and public character. Upon one occasion only 
did he stoop to defend himself, or even notice 
such charges. When a New England clergyman 
accused him of misusing the funds of widows and 
orphans, he simply explained that he could not 
possibly be guilty, because such funds had never 
been entrusted to his care. 

It was instinct that led Jefferson to grasp at 
power and to attempt to exert his influence in 
every direction. When he was unhampered, as 
in the Presidency, he became a mild dictator, a 
moderate autocrat. His strong individuality al 
ways asserted itself, and a consciousness of superi 
ority made it natural and necessary for him to 
rule. When he met resistance he was irritated, 
and retired with a sense of injury and feelings 
of resentment, as from the Cabinet of Washing 
ton. 

Unhappily, Jefferson was called to the head 
of the Cabinet while his theories of government 
were still glowing with the heat of the French 
Revolution, and retained the odor of the guillo 
tine. He would have had an instant quarrel with 
any other President than Washington, whose se 
date and charitable disposition made him patient 
and conservative. Jefferson tried him severely, 
s 385 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

chiefly by his intemperate utterances, and his bitter 
attacks upon Hamilton and the New England sup 
porters of the administration. Gradually the Cabi 
net, the Congress, and finally the country, which 
up to that time had been a unit in the support 
of Washington, divided into two political factions, 
the Republicans under the leadership of Jefferson, 
then Secretary of State, and the Federalists under 
the leadership of Hamilton, then Secretary of the 
Treasury. That was the beginning of American 
politics and the origin of American political par 
ties. 

Jefferson s abhorrence of war and debt made 
his second term as President a failure compared 
with the brilliant triumphs of the first. He re 
linquished power with gratitude and without re 
gret. 

What is commonly referred to as " Jeffersonian 
simplicity" will always be a subject of contro 
versy. Jefferson was never ostentatious, but with 
the exception of two years of his first term as Presi 
dent he carefully observed the conventional rules 
that governed people of refinement and social 
position. He was recognized as a gentleman of 
simple but elegant manners.^ Suddenly, and for a 
short time, he abandoned those habits, and per 
mitted himself to become not only an object of 
severe criticism, but a cause of offence to the 
diplomatic representatives of friendly nations, who 
were compelled to protest to their governments 
against his violation of the proprieties and the 
ordinary laws of hospitality as observed by civil 
ized communities. Notwithstanding the protests 
of the foreigners and the criticisms of many well- 
bred people at home, the popular verdict in the 
United States approved Jefferson s conduct, but 
it left upon the world a false impression of Ameri- 

386 



IN CONCLUSION 

can manners and customs that was not corrected 
for more than half a century, and is not yet en 
tirely effaced. 

The fact that his suspension of the etiquette of 
polite society was temporary, that the period of 
" simplicity" was limited, leads the student of 
Jefferson s character to assume that it was the 
result of a purpose, and the natural presumption 
is that he intended and expected thereby to 
strengthen his political influence upon the class 
commonly called " the plain people." This is the 
interpretation of those who believe him to have 
been a demagogue. Yet at no other time in his 
long career did he ever resort to such tactics; 
and at no other time were they so absolutely un 
necessary, for he was then at the height of his 
power, and influence, the idol of two-thirds of the 
American people. Therefore we must look farther 
and higher for the motive of Jefferson s extraor 
dinary conduct, and may perhaps suggest that it 
was due to a desire, by a shock to check and 
counteract the increasing tendency of the Federal 
government to adopt the forms, ceremonies, and 
etiquette of European courts. This was done, and 
done effectually and permanently. If Jefferson s 
purpose has been accurately stated, it was fully 
accomplished. His estimate of the honor and 
power and dignity of the Presidential office was 
no less exalted than was that of Washington and 
Adams, but with his democratic ideas of govern 
ment he recognized, and wished everyone else to 
recognize, that they were derived only from the\ 
people and should be exercised for their sole bene 
fit. 

His faith in the accuracy and justice of public 
sentiment was never shaken, and he was never 
unwilling to follow it as a guide. Even at the 

387 



THE TRUE THOMAS JEFFERSON 

greatest crisis of his career, when he added an 
empire to the area he had been selected to govern 
in violence to his own construction of the Con 
stitution, he defended the act on the ground that 
it was for the good of the people and would be 
justified by them. 

Jefferson often made mistakes, but, as he said 
of Washington, he " erred with integrity." If he 
changed his mind, it was because he had new light 
or a clearer understanding; if he altered his course, 
it was because he believed he could accomplish 
greater good; but he had one purpose that never 
wavered. He was often inconsistent, but was never 
insincere in his anxiety and never faltered in his 
determination to establish a democracy in the 
United States, a government, as Lincoln said, 
of the people, for the people, by the people, and 
whatever he did was done with the intention and 
the hope of promoting that end., 




Ind 



ex 



Academy of Arts and Sciences, 

354- 
Accomplishments, Jefferson s, 

129, 191, 352, 380. 
Account-books, Jefferson s, in, 

154, 208. 
ADAMS, John, 51, 81, 130, 132, 

148, 153, 158, 188, 191, 208, 229, 

235, 240, 276, 340, 349, 352. 

, John Quincy, 237. 

, Samuel, letters to, 149. 

Administration, first, success of, 

150, 167. 

, second, failure of, 167, 174. 

Agricultural hobbies, 365. 
Albemarle Academy, 250. 
Ambassador, Jeffers^on^fe, 146. 
Ambition, Jefferson s, 388. 
American Philosophical Society, 

138, 346, 362. 
AMES, Fisher, 286. 
"Anas," Jefferson s diary called, 

184, 242, 250, 287, 385. 
Ancestry, Jefferson s, 17, 18. 
ANNE, Jefferson s sister, 46. 
Annexation of Louisiana, 176. 
Appearance of Jefferson, 102, 

189. 

Appointments to office, 151. 
Appropriations, specific, 305. 
Arboriculture, 365. 
Architect, Jefferson s work as 

an, 264, 367. 
Aristocracy, Jefferson s ideas of, 

303- 

, opposed to Jefferson, 77. 

ARNOLD, Benedict, 197. 
Assumption proposition, the, 

Astronomy, Jefferson s ideas of, 

Atheism, Jefferson charged with, 

322. 
Authorship of Declaration of 

Independence, 133. 
Autobiography, Jefferson s, 140. 



BACON, Edward, Jefferson s 
overseer, 41, 87, 107, 115, 214, 
263, 381. 

Bankruptcy, Jefferson s, 46. 

laws, 296. 

Banks, opposition to, 295. 

BARLOW, Joel, 355. 

BELINDA, Jefferson s sweet 
heart, 29. 

BENTON, Thomas H., on an 
nexation of Louisiana, 182. 

Bible and common law, 326. 

, Jefferson s, 343. 

Societies, contributions to, 

340. 

Bimetallism. 296. 

Birthdays, opposed to celebra 
tion of, 159. 

Birthplace, Jefferson s, 93. 

Blackmail, attempts at, 311. 

Blue laws of Virginia, 326. 

Boarding-house, Jefferson s, 157, 
187. 

Botetourt, Lord, Governor of 
Virginia, 125. 

Boyhood of Jefferson, 67. 

BRECKENRIDGE, Senator from 
Kentucky, 230. 

Bruton Parish Church, 61. 

BRYANT, William Cullen, 363. 

Burgesses, House of, 124, 126. 

BURR, Aaron, 188, 229, 277, 282. 

BURWELL, Jefferson s body-ser 
vant, 88. 

, Rebecca, 29. 

Butler, Jefferson s, 190. 

CABELL, Joseph C., 259. 
Cabinet, Jefferson s, 150, 165. 
CALLENDER, Editor, 311. 
Calvinism, opinion of, 323. 
Campaign, Jefferson s first, 

124. 

Campaigning in old days, 123. 
Capers introduced by Jefferson, 

315. 



INDEX 



Capitol at Washington, judges 
designs for, 367. 

, National, location of, 252. 

of Virginia, Jefferson de 
signs, 367. 

Card-playing, 316. 

CARR, Dabney, 127, 145, 220. 

Carriages, Jefferson s, 187. 

Censorship, Jefferson favors, 
310. 

Census of slaves, no. 

Central College, 261. 

Centralization, 305. 

Ceremonials, opposition to, 160. 

Chair, Jefferson invents folding, 
380. 

Jefferson invents revolving, 

380. 

Charity, Jefferson s, 211. 

Charlottesville, schools of, 260. 

CHASE impeachment case, 226. 

Children, Jefferson s, 34, 36, 43. 

, letters to, 28, 36. 

, love for, 35. 

Church, definition of, 325. 

Churches, contributions to, 339. 

CLARKE, General George Ro 
gers, 371. 

CLARKE, William, 371. 

CLAY, Henry, 58. 

Clergy, contempt for, 309. 

of Virginia, 326. 

opposed to Jefferson, 322. 

CLEVELAND, Grover, 157, 310. 

Clients, Jefferson s, 74. 

Coat-of-arms, Jefferson s, 17. 

Code of etiquette, 195. 

Coinage system, Jefferson in 
vents, 371. 

COLES, Edward, Governor, 102, 
211, 225. 

College, Jefferson enters, 66. 

Commerce, foreign, 298. 

Commissioner to France, 34, 36. 

Committee of Correspondence, 
127. 

Congressional Library, 352. 

Congress purchases correspond 
ence, 351. 

Conrad s boarding-house, 157, 
187. f 

Conscientiousness, Jefferson s, 
109, 320. 

Constitution and expansion, 178. 

, opposition to, 80. 

Consular service, 293. 

Continental Congress, elected 
to, 129. 



Contributions, charitable, 212, 
339- 

Convention, First National, 278. 

, Virginia State, 128. 

Convictions, Jefferson s politi 
cal, 289. 

Cook, Jefferson s, 190. 

COOLIDGE, Mrs. Ellen W., 43, 
9i, 342. 

, Thomas Jefferson, 43, 105, 

35i- 

Coolness of temper, Jefferson s, 
280. 

COOPER, Professor, 332. 

Copying-press, Jefferson s in 
vention of, 350. 

Correspondence, Jefferson s, 26, 
348. 

published, 352. 

Corsets, story of, 27. 

Cotton-gin, invention of, 377. 

Court-House, Williamsburg, 60, 
122. 



j Courtship of Jefferson, 31. 
Courts, Jefferson s practice in, 

74- 

Cuba, annexation of, 184. 
Curiosity, Jefferson s, 317. 
Currency, 296. 
system, Jefferson invents, 

372. 

Dancing, Jefferson approves of, 

38, 347- 

Daughters, advice to, 37, 45, 315. 
DAYTON, Senator from New 

Jersey, 234. 

Deadlock over Presidential elec 
tion of 1800, 275. 
Death of Jefferson, 51, 335. 

of Mrs. Jefferson, 33, 96. 

Debt, public, abhorrence of, 172. 
Debts, Jefferson s, 52, 216. 
Declaration of Independence, 

131- 
Democracy, Jefferson s ideas, 

164. 

Democratic party, origin of, 274. 
Democrats, reputation in New 

England, 277. 

Deportment, Jefferson s, 190. 
DE STAEL, Madame, 147. 
Diary, Jefferson s, 242, 244, 250, 

284, 385- 

Diet, Jefferson s, 320. 
Dinners, Jefferson s, 190, 202. 
Diplomatic corps, troubles with, 

2OI. 



390 



INDEX 



Discretion of officials, 303. 
Disposition, Jefferson s, 99. 
Dress, Jefferson s habits in, 

189. 

, Jefferson s ideas of, 192. 

Duelling, 79. 

DUNGLISON, Jefferson s doctor, 

368. 
DUNMORE, Lord, 59. 

Edinburgh University, 258, 324. 
Education, Jefferson s ideas of, 

256. 

Egotism, Jefferson s, 270, 289. 
Election, Presidential, 1796, 275. 

, , 1800, 278. 

Elevator, invention of, 378. 
Embargo, the, 173. 
Encyclopaedia, Jeffersonian, 291. 
Enforcement Act, 173. 
England, Jefferson s opinion of, 

148, 197. 
Entail abolished by Jefferson, 

Epitaph, Jefferson s, ij^, 

, Mrs. Jefferson s7 35. 

EPPES, Mrs., 40. 

Etiquette, Jefferson s code of, 

191, 196. 

at White House, 201. 

Europe, life in, 146. 

Executive ability, Jefferson s, 

162. ^, 

Exercise, Jefferson ^ Meas of, 

38, 347- a 9 
Expansion, Jefferson on, 175. 
Expenses, family, no, 208, 211. 
Explorations, Lewis and Clarke, 

37i. 
Extradition, 307. 

Family history, Jefferson s, 17- 
19, no. 

Farewell Address, Washing 
ton s, 250. 

Farmer, Jefferson as a, 90-118, 
366. 

Farmers, Jefferson s opinion of, 
90. 

Fast- Day proclamations, 338. 

FAUQUIER, Governor, 69. 

Federalists, mistakes of, 276. 

Federalist, The, 245. 

Fees, Jefferson s law-, 73. 

Feuds, Jefferson s, 243. 

Fiction, Jefferson s objections 
to, 347- 

Florida, annexation of, 184. 



Flowers, love of, 91. 
Folding-chair, Jefferson invents, 

380. 

FORD, Paul Leicester, 352. 
Foreign missions, 339. 

relations, 296. 

trade, 297. 

Formalities in office, 158. 

FOSTER, John W., 165. 

Four Resolutions of Virginia, 

125. 
France, Jefferson s opinion of, 

148. 

, life in, 146. 

FRANKLIN, Benjamin, 132, 222, 

334, 346, 353- 
French, complications with the, 

246. 

Revolution, 288, 291, 385. 

FRENEAU, the editor, 242, 249. 
Friends and enemies, 219. 
FULTON, Robert, 364. 
Funeral, Jefferson s, 53. 
Future life, Jefferson s belief in, 

340. 

Gag-law in Congress, 177. 
GALLATIN, Albert, 150, 165, 173, 

295. 

Gambling, 316. 
GENET, Citizen, 246. 
Geneva Seminary, 257, 324. 
Geology, 359. 
GERRY, Elbridge, 137. 
Gifts to officials, 306. 
God, Jefferson s belief in, 338. 
Gossip, Jefferson s love of, 27. 
Government, growth of, 162. 

, Jefferson s plans of, 288. 

of Louisiana, 181. 

Governor of Virginia, career as, 

143- 
Grandparents, Jefferson s, 17, 

20. 

GRANT, General, 166. 
Grave, Jefferson s, 53, 221. 
GRIMM, Baron, 147. 
Growth of the United States, 

162. 

Habits, Jefferson s, 194, 386. 
HAMILTON, Alexander, 221, 230, 

242, 247, 252, 273, 276, 283, 295, 

3", 386. 

HANCOCK, John, 136. 
HARRISON, Benjamin, 137. 
HENNINGS, John, Jefferson s 

slave, 88. 



391 



INDEX 



HENRY, Patrick, 57, 121, 127, 
129, 219, 221, 330, 355. 

Hobbies, Jefferson s, 297, 352, 
358> 365, 377- 

Hogs, Calcutta, introduced by 
Jefferson, 116. 

Home in Philadelphia, Jeffer 
son s, 134. 

, Jefferson s, 99. 

Honesty, Jefferson s financial, 
321. 

Horse-racing, 317. 

Horses, Jefferson s, 71, 117, 187. 

Hospitality, Jefferson s, 47, 146. 

Humor, Jefferson s lack of, 27. 

Ideals, Jefferson s, 287. 
Ignorance of people, 305. 
Immigration, Jefferson s ideas 

on, 90, 301, 302. 
Immorality, charged with, 311, 

385. 

Imprisonment for debt, 307. 
Inauguration, Jefferson s, 187. 
Inconsistencies, 167, 168, 245, 

287, 384. 
Independence, Declaration of, 

119. 

Indian policy, 301. 
Indians, researches concerning, 

371. 

Industry, Jefferson s, 101. 

Influence, Jefferson s, 270. 

Insults to Washington, 243, 245, 
249. 

Intellectual force, Jefferson s, 
270. 

Internal improvements, 297. 

taxes, 300. 

Intrigues of Presidential cam 
paign, 279. 

Inventions, early American, 376. 

, Jefferson s, 350, 380. 

Isthmian canal, 297. 

JACKSON, Andrew, Jefferson s 

opinion of, 235. 
JEFFERSON, Jane, 23. 

, Martha, 31, 40, 105, 348. 

, Peter, 17. 

Jesus, Jefferson s opinion of, 

3^, 
JONES, Scervant, epitaph by, 

62. 
Judiciary, short terms for, 79, 

305- 
Juries, Jefferson s opinion of, 

79- 



Kentucky resolutions, 306. 
King of England, Jefferson re 
ceived by, 148. 
KNOX, General, 249, 295, 375. 

LAFAYETTE, 58, 100, 223, 354. 

Lands, public, 302. 

Laws, blue, of Virginia, 76, 

326. 

of Virginia, revision of, 75. 

Lawyers, Virginia, 72. 
Leadership, Jefferson s, 273. 
LEDYARD, adventurer, 147. 
LEE, Francis Lightfoot, 127. 

, Richard Henry, 131, 138. 

Legal practice, Jefferson s, 74. 
Legislature of Virginia, 144. 
Letter-books, Jefferson s, 351. 
Letters, Jefferson s, 348. 
Levees abolished, 160. 
Levy, Commodore Uriah H., 

106. 

, Jefferson, 105. 

LEWIS, Meriwether, 101, 371. 
and Clarke s expedition, 

181, 371. 

Liberty, love of, 287. 
, religious, statutes for, 322, 



326, 330. 
,ibra 



Library, Jefferson s, 352. 

, , sale of, 48. 

LINCOLN, Levi, 188, 239. 
Literary remains, Jefferson s, 

35i. 

LIVINGSTON, R. R., 132. 
Lotteries, thoughts on, 140. 
Lottery, Jefferson s scheme for 

relief, 50. 

Louisiana Purchase, 175, 176. 
Love-affairs, Jefferson s, 29. 
Luxuries, taxation of, 299. 
Lynching, 304. 

MACLAY, Senator, 189, 193. 

MADISON, James, 69, 81, 93, 116, 
124, 150, 173, 200, 204, 211, 219, 
227, 238, 260, 330. 

Mammoth, bones of, 362. 

Manners, Jefferson s, 99. 

Mansions, Jefferson s designs 
for, 367. 

Manual, Jefferson s, 373. 

Manuscript Declaration of In 
dependence, 138. 

Manuscripts, Jefferson s, 384. 

Map of Virginia, 22. 

Market, Washington, 203. 

Marriage-bond, Jefferson s, 32. 



392 



INDEX 



Marriage, Jefferson s, 32. 

, Jefferson s daughters , 40, 

41. 

MARSHALL, John, 30, 58, 79, 188, 
219, 227, 239. 

Massachusetts Historical So 
ciety, 351. 

Mathematics, love for, 352, 357. 

Maxims, Jefferson s, 313. 

MAZZKI, Jefferson s letter to, 



[edi" 



Medicine, Jefferson s ideas of, 

368. 
Merino sheep introduced by 

Jefferson, 115. 
MERRY, minister from England, 

200, 204, 234. 

Messages to Congress, 160. 
Meteorology, 358. 
"Midnight appointments," 

Adams s, 151, 154, 239. 
Militia, opinion of, 290, 302. 
Minister, British, Jefferson s re 
lations with, 197. 

to France, Jefferson as, 146. 

Mint, Jefferson founds the 

United States, 373. 
Missions, foreign, 339. 
Money in elections, 153. 
Monopolies, 301, 3^9. 
MONROE, James, 152, 197, 205, 

227, 260, 296. 
Monticello, 47, 51, 93, 98, 106, 

145, 356, 366. 

Monument, Jefferson s, 53. 
MOORE, Tom, Irish poet, 206, 

312. 
Morals, Jefferson s, 309. 

of planters, 56. 

MORRIS, Gouverneur, 372. 

, Robert, 372. 

Mother, Jefferson s, 17, 22. 
Motives, Jefferson s, 387. 
Mourning, official, opposed to, 

1 59- 

Music, Jefferson s fondness for, 
24. 

Names for Territories, Jeffer 
son s, 184. 

NAPOLEON S trade with Jeffer 
son, 176. 

Natural Bridge of Virginia, 33, 
90. 

Naturalization, 301. 

laws, Jefferson s, 77. 

Nature, Jefferson s love of, QI. 

Navy, Jefferson s plan of, 363. 



Neutrality proclamation, 248. 
Newspapers, hatred of, 310. 

of 1800, 282. 

NICHOLAS, Robert Carter, 128. 
NICHOLSON, Joseph Cooper, 282. 
Nominations of early Presi 
dents, 279. 

NORTH, reply to Lord, 131. 
" Notes on Virginia," 146, 348. 
Nullification policy, 306. 

Odometer, Jefferson s, 372. 
Offices held by Jefferson, 140. 
Officials, appointment of, 151. 
Olives introduced by Jefferson, 

"5- 

Oratory, failure in, 130. 
, Jefferson s love for, 123. 

PAGE, Governor, 342. 

, John, boyhood friend, 29, 

61, 145- 

PAINE, Thomas, 150, 237. 

Pardoning power, 293. 

Paris, life in, 146. 

Parliamentary practice, Jeffer 
son s, 373. 

Parties, political, 271. 

Partisanship in early days, 273. 

Patent, first, 375. 

Office, 374, 376. 

Patents, Jefferson s ideas of, 374. 

Patriotism, Jefferson s, 269, 289, 
384- 

of Virginians, 126. 

Patronage, distribution of, 151, 
158. 

, use of, 294. 

" PATSY," 37, 39. 

Pedometer, Jefferson invents, 

" Pele-mSle" rule at the White 
House, 203. 

PENDLETON, Edmund, 330. 

Penmanship, Jefferson s, 264, 
349- 

People, confidence of the, in Jef 
ferson, 288. 

Perpetual constitution, 304. 

Phi Beta Kappa organized, 66. 

Philadelphia, Jefferson s home 
in, 134- 

Philosophy, Jefferson s, 315. 

PICKERING, Timothy, 246. 

PIKE S expedition, 371. 

PINCKNKY, Charles C., 279. 

Plantation life, early, 55. 

PLOUGH, Jefferson s, 381. 



393 



INDEX 



PLUMMER, Senator from Massa 
chusetts, 207. 
Poems, Jefferson s, 348. 
Poetry, Jefferson s objections to, 

347- 
Politeness, Jefferson s, 191, 193, 

198. 
Political appointments, 151. 

ideas, Jefferson s, 269. 

Politician, Jefferson as a, 164, 

287, 385- 

Politics, bitterness of, 273. 
" POLLY," 37, 39, 40, 45. 
Polygraph, Jefferson s, 350. 
Popularity, Jefferson s, 386. 
Portraits, Jefferson s, 193, 210. 
Postal service, Jefferson s, 364. 
Prayer-book, Peter Jefferson s, 

19- 
Prayer, Jefferson s belief in. 

338- 

Presbyterianism, belief in, 323. 
Presidency, Jefferson s election 

to, 168. 
Presidential election of 1796, 275. 

of 1800, 279. 

term, 81, 293. 

Press, freedom of, 81. 
PRIESTLEY, Dr., 150, 332. 
Primogeniture, attacks on, 77. 
Principles, Jefferson s, 166. 

, political, 269, 289. 

Protectionist, Jefferson as a, 

298. 

Proverbs, Jefferson s, 313. 
Providence, belief in, 309, 338. 
Psalms, Jefferson s opinion of, 

342. 
Public services, Jefferson s, 141. 

QUESNAY, Professor, 354. 

RANDOLPH, Edmund, 58, 247, 

330,375- 

, Isham, grandfather, 17, 20. 

, John, 219, 223, 247. 

, Thomas Jefferson, 44, 106, 

35L 

, Thomas Mann, 41, 78, 225. 

, Mrs. Thomas Mann, 40, 

105, 348. 

Reaping-machine, first, 382. 
Rebellion, first act of, 125. 
, Jeff erson favors occasional, 

80. 
Reception of English minister, 

200. 
Reciprocity, 298. 



Reforms, Jefferson s, as Presi 
dent, 151. 

Relations of executive and judi 
ciary, 294. 

Relatives, appointment of, 153. 

Religious liberty, statutes for, 81 , 
119, 322, 326, 330. 

opinions, Jefferson s, 267, 

308. 

Remonstrance against taxation, 
125- 

Removals from office, Jeffer 
son s, 154, 156. 

Reply to Lord North, 131. 

Republican party, origin of, 
274. 

Revolutionary movements, 126. 

Rice, Jefferson introduces, 365. 

Rights of society, 303. 

River improvements, 356. 

Rotation in office, 81, 152, 292, 
305- 

Royalty, opinions of, 316. 

Rules of University of Virginia, 
267. 

RUSH, Dr. Benjamin, 240. 

Russia, Emperor of, 306. 

RUTLEDGE, John, 167. 

Salary, Jefferson s, 215. 
Scandals about Jefferson, 310. 
Schools, Jefferson s early, 67. 
School system, Jefferson s, 257. 
Science, services to, 346. 
Scientific inclinations, 290, 356. 
Seal, Jefferson s, 18. 

of the United States, 139. 

Secession of New England 

feared, 277. 
Secretary of State, Jefferson as, 

149. 

Senate, relations with, 294. 
Servants, Jefferson s, 211. 
Shadwell estate, 21, 124. 
Shea s Rebellion, 80. 
Silver plate, Jefferson s family, 



Sim 



"Simplicity, Jeffersonian," 186, 

.386. 

Sincerity, Jefferson s, 154, 167. 
Sister Jane, Jefferson s, 23. 
Slavery, 83, 214. 
Slaves, Jefferson s, no. 
SMITH, Professor Francis H., 

35p. 

Society, rights of, 303. 
Spanish minister, trouble with, 

206. 



394 



INDEX 



Specific appropriations by Con 
gress, 305. 

Speculation in stocks, 303. 

Spelling, exactness in, 37. 

-reform 352. 

Spoilsman, Adams as a, 153. 

, Jefferson as a, 152. 

Spoils system. 152. 

State rights, 302, 306. 

Statutes, Jefferson s collection 
of, 76. 

Steam-engine, first, 382. 

Studies, Jefferson s early, 70. 

Suffrage, Jefferson favors lim 
ited, 292. 

Supreme Court of the United 
States, 79, 245, 270. 



Tariff on imports, 299. 

TARLETON, Major, 97, 197. 

Taxes, 297, 300. 

Temperance habits, 318. 

Territories, names of Jeffer 
son s, 184. 

Thanksgiving proclamations, 
338. 

Theories, Jefferson s, 358, 377. 

Threshing-machines, Jeffer 
son s, 284, 357, 366. 

TILDEN, Samuel J., 208, 319. 

Titles, 303, 307. 

Tobacco, culture of, 73. 

TYLER, John, 59. 



Unconstitutionality of Louisi 
ana Purchase, 177. 

Unitarian, Jefferson a, 308, 324. 

University of Virginia, 120, 254, 
267, 331, 350, 366. 

Versatility, Jefferson s, 346, 358, 

380, 384- 
Veto power, 283. 



Vice-President, Jefferson s ex- 
perience as, 237. 

VICTORIA, Queen, Jefferson s 
autograph, 37. 

Violin, Jefferson s, 25. 

Virginia ungrateful to Jeffer 
son, 120. 

Voters, qualifications for, 292. 

War, Jefferson s abhorrence of, 
170. 

WASHINGTON, George, 60, 124, 
127, 195, 242, 250, 257, 272, 288, 
323, 375, 385, 388. 

, Mrs. Martha, 57. 

Watt s steam-engine, 382 . 

WAYLES, John, father-in-law, 
3i) 33, 321. 

r eakness of Jefferson as Presi 
dent, 173. 

Wealth, distribution of, 296. 

of Jefferson, 33, 52. 

WEBSTER, Daniel, 102, 235. 

Wedding, Jefferson s, 32. 

Wheat, market for, 114. 

WHITNEY, Eli, 377. 

Wife, death of Jefferson s, 33, 



We 



96, 197. 
WIL: 



ILKINSON, General, 232. 
Will, Jefferson s, 52, 88, 220. 
William and Mary College, 56, 

(63, 68, 121, 257. 
iamsburg, Virginia, 55, 59. 



wfi 



Wine bills, Jefferson s, 212, 319. 
WISTAR, Dr., 362. 
Women in office, 153. 
WREN, Sir Christopher, 57. 
WYTHE, George, 58, 69, 75, 374. 

Youthful appearance of Jeffer 
son, 24. 

YRUJO, Spanish minister, 206, 
233- 

Zoology, 359. 



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